New Delhi [India], September 30 (ANI): An activist and lawyer has made a representation before Delhi Cabinet Minister Satyender Jain, chairman High Power Committee (Justice Hima Kohli), DG Prison (Tihar) and others suggesting that a mechanism for surrendering of prisoners be considered in a phased manner, taking into account age, ailment and other factors.
The representation was made by social activist and advocate Amit Sahni asking to extend the parole granted to prisoners by the Delhi government as social distancing cannot be maintained as Tihar jails are overly crowded and in case 4,000 prisoners surrender then the situation may worsen in Tihar jail. It would adversely affect prisoners and jail administration as well.
Sahni has stated in his representation made to the Minister, Delhi that "social distancing" is not feasible and practically possible since jails in Delhi are already overcrowded and as such Delhi jails have been extremely affected by the pandemic.
Even the Director-General of Prisons, Tihar has been found Covid positive and is under quarantine. When the Tihar Headquarter is not safe and many officials posted at Tihar Headquarters have been quarantined, then there is no need to comment upon the arrangement and "social distancing" which is required to be maintained in cells/ barracks, where prisoners are lodged.
"Delhi Jails have the capacity to retain 10,026 prisoners and at present, about 14,000 prisoners are lodged in Delhi jails excluding about 4,000 prisoners, who are at present released on interim bail/emergency parole," the representation states.
It is urged that the situation in the country is critical and as such toll of Covid-19 cases have crossed 61.45 lakh and Delhi figure has also crossed 2.73 lakh.
"The Jail Administration has presently opposed the extension of emergency parole to the prisoners beyond 30-09-2020, which is contrary to the circumstances caused due to pandemic of Covid-19. More particularly when the Head of Delhi Jails (DG Prisons) has been found Covid positive, then fate of the large number of prisoners can be easily ascertained as capacity of Delhi Jails is 10,026 (which is not determined considering social distancing) and more so it is overcrowded by 40% (at present) and would get overcrowded by 80% in case all prisoners surrender in jail," it stated.
The representation requests that the issue requires detailed deliberations and the surrendering of the prisoners must be directed in a phased manner considering age, disability, medical ailment suffered by convict/under trial, whether such prisoner is involved in heinous crime and whether the liberty of emergency parole/bail is misused by such convict.
Sahni also requested to deal with the issue appropriately and to place the same before the High Power Committee constituted upon the directions of the Supreme Court in the larger interest of prisoners and the jail administration. (ANI)