NEW DELHI: After taking suo motu cognisance of the medical assistance needed for prisoners in overcrowded jails to save them from coronavirus, the Supreme Court on Monday directed all states and Union Territories to constitute a high-powered committee, comprising the Law Secretary and Chairman of State Legal Service Authority, to decide which convicts and undertrials can be released on parole or interim bail.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said, “It has become imperative for us to ensure the spread of coronavirus in the prisons is controlled.”
The bench asked committee to consider releasing on interim bail undertrials facing sentences of up to seven years in order to decongest jails. There are 1,339 prisons in this country, and approximately 4,66,084 inmates are lodged in these prisons. According to the NCRB, the occupancy rate of Indian prisons is at 117.6%.