Post SC order, Tamil Nadu government releases 1,184 prisoners to curb n-Cov 19 spread

States like Maharashtra, Punjab and the UT of Delhi may soon follow suit to decongest prisons to curb Covid-19 there


After the Supreme Court of India asked states to consider releasing prisoners facing sentences of up to seven years in a bid to decongest prisons to stop the spread of the coronavirus there, the Tamil Nadu state judiciary ordered the release of more than 1,180 prisoners from nine Central jails for men, five special prisons for women, district and sub-jails in the state, reported The Times of India.

On Saturday, 58 remanded prisoners, including two women from Madurai Central Prison were released. Director General of Police (Prisons) Sunil Kumar Singh told TOI, “Some 1,184 prisoners have been released from Central prisons and sub-jails in the last three days. The prisoners were released by the judicial authorities following the due process. At present 55 percent of the total accommodation of inmates are in the prisons in the state.”

It was reported that following a direction from higher authorities, the prison department submitted a list of all remanded prisoners from each prison. Upon further consultation with the respective district police departments and after adhering to legal provisions, the judicial magistrates for each district issued bail orders for people arrested in petty cases.

A total of 202 prisoners from Coimbatore Central prisons and 39 from sub-jails have been released. An official said, “They were let out on bail till March 31.”

Similarly 40 and 60 inmates from Puzhal I and Puzhal II, 112 from Vellore, 27 from Cuddalore, 126 from Trichy, 203 from Madural and 247 from Palayamkottai have been let out on bail. 67 prisoners from Salem district – 42 from Salem Central prison, nine from the special cell for women prisoners, six from Athur sub-jail, four each from Sankagiri and Omalur and two from Uthankarai have been released on parole. They have been asked to report back at the respective jurisdictional court at 11 AM on April 9, sources told Deccan Chronicle.

Other prison authorities like the Punjab Jails department submitted a proposal to the state government to release around 2,800 inmates, most petty criminals, arrested for crimes like snatching and some found with drugs, in order to decongest prisons and prevent the spread of coronavirus there.

The Maharashtra State government too produced an affidavit before the Supreme Court with a proposal to release over 5,000 inmates on temporary bail or for medical reasons to reduce the congestion in prisons. 60 jails in Maharashtra are overcrowded, with the population of inmates being 50 percent higher than the actual capacity.

The Tihar Prison authorities said they too were planning to release 3,000 prisoners – 1,500 on parole or furlough and 1,500 undertrials on interim bail in the coming days to ease the crowd in prisons.

The TOI also reported that 20 inmates of Baghpat jail in Uttar Pradesh were showing symptoms akin to those of coronavirus and had been quarantined in a separate wing. Their Covid-19 test results are awaited.


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