The Bar Council of Uttar Pradesh has written a letter to the Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Yadav of the Allahabad High Court seeking the grant of interim bail or parole to prisoners facing up to seven years imprisonment for the decongestion of prisons amid the second wave of COVID-19.
The letter cites the havoc created by the second wave of the COVID pandemic, which the Bar Council Chairman notes has proved to be more lethal and dangerous.
Scores of inmates have tested positive for the virus, the majority due to flouting of social distancing norms on account of congestion in jails, the letter states.
“The only available solution to help the congestion and to avoid the spread of virus appears to be decongesting the prisons so that social distancing could be maintained to avoid the spread of virus“, the letter reads.
The Bar Council says that considering applications for bail and parole of under trial and convicted prisoners is the need of the hour. Human rights to safeguard life and health had to be considered rather than statutory considerations, it is urged.
The letter also notes that a High Powered Committee was earlier constituted by the State government and a policy decision was taken to release under-trial prisoners/ convicts for the offences punishable with imprisonment up to 7 years or less for the decongestion of prisons.
In this backdrop, the Bar Council pleaded for judicial intervention in the matter on behalf of “prisoners who are languishing in jail” on in view of the spread of COVID-19 due to overcrowding of prisons and given that prisoners do not have access to speedy justice. Concern is also raised that the conditions in jail are not fit and proper for human life and safety.
As such, the Bar Council has called for appropriate orders to be passed for the release of under trial prisoners / convicted persons who are facing trial or are convicted for offenses punishable with a maximum of 7 years’ imprisonment.