SC directs 2,674 prisoners out on Covid bail to surrender by March 15

The interim bail and parole of prisoners and undertrials has been extended from time to time since March last year due to rising infection

Supreme court

 The Supreme Court has directed 2,674 prisoners to surrender to their respective jails by March 15, in light of the improving situation of the pandemic.

The Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat said, “In view of the improving situation, we direct 2318 prisoners who were granted interim bail by the trial Court and 356 prisoners who were granted interim bail by the High Court to surrender within 15 days from today.”

In October last year, the Delhi High Court had charted out a plan to facilitate the surrender of prisoners before jail authorities in a phased manner, to avoid inconvenience to the jail authorities. Aggrieved by this, the National Forum on Prison Reforms approached the Supreme Court challenging this High Court order that refused to extend the interim-bail or parole for the prisoners.

According to a report in LiveLaw, during the hearing, the Bench orally remarked that the prisoners could begin filing applications for bail as courts have started functioning physically. The Bench also said that the instant petition would be kept pending and that the court should be apprised of the orders in the bail applications. Amicus Curiae Gaurav Aggarwal was directed to submit a report on overcrowding of the prisons.

On March 25, 2020, the Delhi High Court, on its own motion, had directed that interim bail would be granted to undertrial prisoners in wake of the pandemic till May 15, 2020, until further orders. This order was extended from time to time till October 2020.

On October 29 last year, the Supreme Court had issued a notice and partially stayed the High Court’s decision until November 26, 2020. This stay continued till February 25, 2021. The Supreme Court’s order on March 1 recorded, “Thereafter, the interim order was continued from time to time. The last extension was granted on 21.1.2021 (January 21, 2021) whereby the interim order was extended till 25.02.2021 (February 25, 2021).”

The order may be read here: 


SC stays Delhi HC order refusing to extend bail of inmates

Covid-19: State governments continue to release prisoners on parole and interim bail

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