No data on number of prisoners testing Covid positive: MHA

The Ministry however presented data collated by NCRB on overcrowding of prisons and number of undertrials as of 2019


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was questioned by Aparajita Sarangi of BJP, representing Bhubaneshwar, Orissa on how many prisoners contacted Covid-19 until now, and how many of them died due to it. The MoS, MHA G Kishan Reddy however, said it had no data on the same.

Sarangi also raised questions on overcrowding in prisons, and the number of undertrials in each state. The Ministry relied on the National Crime Records Bureau’s Prison Statistics Report of 2019 which showed that 21 out of 36 States and UTs had over-crowded prisons, meaning they housed more prisoners than they had the capacity for. Uttar Pradesh reported the highest overcrowding (167.9%) followed by Uttarakhand (159.0%), Meghalaya (157.4%), Madhya Pradesh (155.3%), Sikkim (153.8%), Maharashtra (152.7%) and Chhattisgarh (150.1%).

Data on undertrials was also presented from NCRB report which showed that as of 2019, there were over 3.3 lakh undertrials on a national scale; with Uttar Pradesh housing over 73,000 undertrials in its prisons.

The Supreme Court, on March 23, 2020 in one of its first Covid related orders, had directed all States and UTs to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine as to which class of prisoners can be released on parole or interim bail, for such period as may be thought appropriate by them.

The answer may be read here.


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