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COVID-19: Punjab to release 6,000 prisoners to decongest jails

The minister informed that there were around 24,000 prisoners lodged in 24 jails across the state against an authorised capacity of 23,488.

Published: 26th March 2020 10:09 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th March 2020 10:09 PM   |  A+A-

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By PTI

CHANDIGARH: With a view to decongest state prisons in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Punjab is going to release around 6,000 prisoners from all the jails across the state.

Disclosing this here on Thursday, Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said that convicts will be released on parole for 6 weeks and undertrial prisoners on interim bail for the same period.

The minister informed that there were around 24,000 prisoners lodged in 24 jails across the state against an authorised capacity of 23,488.

The primary aim was to protect the health of the prisoners and restrict transmission of COVID-19 by decongestion of prisons.

Prisoners sentenced up to 7 years with maximum two undertrial cases (both on bail) and who have availed their last parole peacefully are to be considered for release on parole.

In a statement, he further pointed out that the prisoners who are already out on parole shall be given 6 week extension to ensure quarantining of prisons.

An undertrial shall be considered for a 6 week interim bail, if he/she is facing one or two cases in which maximum punishment is seven years or less.

Special cases under certain heads of crime, including cheating and the Excise Act shall also be considered for the bail.

Camp courts shall be held on jail premises itself for grant of interim bail.

However, those convicted or charged under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the Explosives Act, acid attacks and foreign nationals shall not be considered for release.

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