NEW DELHI: Noting that there is no spread of COVID-19 in the jails, Delhi High Court has directed the surrender of prisoners, who were released on interim bails, in a phased manner, starting November 8.
A bench headed by Justice Vipin Sanghi asked the jail authorities to make ‘appropriate arrangements’ for the surrender, as scheduled, while also keeping in mind the guidelines issued by the government authorities to contain the spread of the virus. The bench, also comprising Justices Rekha Palli and Talwant Singh, directed that the interim orders passed in civil matters, which were given an extension, shall also cease to have an effect on their dates of next hearing.
The court was dealing with a suo motu case taken up by the court to extend interim orders on account of the second wave of the pandemic. 793 undertrials involved in heinous crimes, who were granted interim bails by the District Courts, there shall be no further extension of interim bails under the orders of this Court. As far as prisoners who were granted interim bails by this Court, shall surrender before concerned jail superintendent/s on November 20,’ the court said.
Closing the proceedings, the court said that there was a necessity to extend orders of interim bail and stay because the functioning of courts was curtailed due to complete lockdown declared on April 19. ‘But now the situation has greatly improved and all Courts at High Court and District Court level are functioning through physical mode/VC mode... There is no spread of Covid-19 in the jails, and out of about 17,000 prisoners, not even one of them is infected and among prison staff, there is only one active case,’ it observed in its order passed on October 22.