NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to respondents on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions to Delhi Government and DG Prison to defer the surrendering of the prisoners above 65 years and prisoners suffering from comorbid medical conditions.
A division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh sought a response from the Delhi government and jail authorities while slating the matter for March 26.
The plea also prayed that the emergency parole to such prisoners be extended for a further period and such prisoners may be directed to be surrender after the surrender of all other prisoners, in the larger interest of prisoners and jail administration.
The petitioner, a social activist and practising advocate, Amit Sahni stated that the situation in Delhi jails is such that one room or barrack cannot be provided to each infected prisoner because a number of prisoners are lodged together in a single barrack/room.
The plea added that Delhi jails have the capacity to retain 10,026 prisoners only and at present, about 14,000 prisoners are lodged in the jails excluding about 4,000 prisoners, who are at present released on interim bail/emergency parole.
"It is, therefore, clear that social distancing cannot be maintained as the Tihar Jails are overly crowded and in case 4,000 prisoners surrender then the situation may worsen in Tihar Jails and the same would be detrimental and adversely affect prisoners and jail administration as well," the plea said.
It stated that age increases the risk for severe illness due to Covid-19, therefore, the aforesaid issue requires detailed deliberations and the accused, in any case, must be directed to surrender in a phased manner considering the age, disability and medical ailments/conditions of prisoners.