NCov reprieve ends for 2,318 undertrials

NCov reprieve ends for 2,318 undertrials

NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Ending a Covid-19 remission, Delhi High Court, on Friday, directed 2,318 undertrials currently out on bail, to surrender at Tihar Jail in a phased manner between November 2 and 13th. 

On March 25, it had taken suo motu cognizance of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. 

Delhi Police via Deputy Commissioner of Police, Legal Cell, PHQ, submitted an applicant to modify the past orders. The court was informed that the “overall capacity of all the prisoners is about 10,000 and as on date and they have 15,900 prisoners inside the jails.” Further, “2,318 undertrials involved in heinous crimes were granted interim bail by the District Courts, which have been extended from time to time on the of orders dated 25.03.2020 and subsequent orders pa ssed by this court.”

Further, “ 2,907 undertrials involved in crimes were granted bail as per the recommendations of the High-Power Committee and 356 prisoners were granted interim bail by Delhi High Courts.” Special Public Prosecutor Amit Prasad highlighted the fact that the “undertrials in (Delhi) Riots Cases, who were granted interim bails on humanitarian grounds for short periods are covered under the ambit of the orders passed by this court and their interim bails are extended from time to time. About 20 such accused are on interim bail at this time.”

On the other hand, Rahul Mehra, opposing the application, argued that Covid-19 pandemic” is still prevailing and the earlier orders passed by this court need not be modified.” The bench of Chief Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Talwant Singh, disregarding the contention of the standing counsel of NCT of Delhi, Rahul Mehra, came to the conclusion “since there is no spread of Covid-19 in the jails and out of about 16,000 prisoners only 3 are infected and they have been segregated and are admitted in hospital, we deem it proper to modify our order dated 25th March, 2020.'

While instructing the jail authorities to make all necessary arrangements to ensure surrender of the prisoners adhering to the guidelines issued by the Government Authorities from time to time to contain the spread of Covid-19, the bench observed, “2318 undertrials involved in heinous crimes, who were granted interim bail by the District Courts, there shall be no further extension of interim bails. However, to facilitate their surrender before jail authorities and to avoid any inconvenience being caused to the jail authorities during surrender of a large number of undertrials, it is ordered that the surrender shall take place in the phased manner.” 

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