SC asks Kerala to examine Covid situation and consider releasing more prisoners

Prisoners misuse mobile smart card, seal even drug deals from high-security Poojapura jail

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday asked the Kerala government to examine the COVID-19 situation in jails there and consider releasing more prisoners for the time being.

A bench comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and B R Gavai also asked the state government, represented by senior advocate P V Surendranath, not to insist on surrender of those prisoners, out on interim bail or parole, in view of the surge in Covid cases again.

"Now, you do not insist on people coming back. Examine the position in jails, if the position of Covid in jail is bad, see to it that people go home and come back", it observed.

The bench asked the state counsel to instruct the authorities not to take coercive action against persons who are out on bail and parole.

It was hearing a batch of pleas challenging the state's order asking prisoners, who were released by the government on parole or interim bail in the wake of the pandemic, to surrender back to jails.

One of the petitioners, Dolphy, who was released from the prison on parole, has rushed to the apex court after being asked to surrender back to jail despite the poor pandemic situation in the state.

Earlier, the apex court had ordered de-congestion of prisons in the wake of Covid 19 and had directed the states and UTs to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or interim bail.

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