HC asks Maha govt about ways to contain COVID-19 spread in prisons

PTI | Mumbai | Updated: 20-04-2021 14:25 IST | Created: 20-04-2021 14:25 IST
HC asks Maha govt about ways to contain COVID-19 spread in prisons

The Maharashtra government on Tuesday informed the Bombay High Court that while prisons in the state have the capacity to house 23,127 inmates, there are currently 35,124 prisoners lodged in 47 jails.

Advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni, who appeared for the state, told the court that as on April 18, 188 inmates had tested positive for COVID-19 in the state.

Kumbhakoni made the submissions before a bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni.

The bench had taken suo moto cognisance of newspaper reports about rising cases of COVID-19 in the state's prisons and concerted the issue into a criminal public interest litigation (PIL).

The bench on Tuesday posed a host of questions to the state about ways to control the viral spread in prisons.

The court asked if a large number of inmates could be granted emergency parole to decongest prisons and if those above 45 years of age could be vaccinated.

The bench also asked the state if it could ensure that persons who are arrested now, are administered COVID-19 tests and produced before the magistrate only if they test negative for the infection.

It further sought to know if it would be possible for the state to inoculate the accused who are above 45 years of age.

The bench directed the state to respond to its queries and also come up with its own suggestions to reduce the spread of infection, by Thursday, the next date for hearing.

The court also permitted the People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL) and its counsel, senior advocate Mihir Desai, to be impleaded as parties in the PIL to assist the court.

The PUCL had filed a PIL last year on the spread of coronavirus among prison inmates and staff.

Another bench of the Bombay High Court had at the time issued a slew of guidelines and standard operating procedures for prisons.

The advocate general told the court that a vaccination programme was already underway for eligible prisoners.

Inmates who had been released on bail or on emergency parole because of the pandemic last year, were still out, he said, adding that the state was going to start releasing eligible inmates on emergency parole again.

Last year, the state had constructed 36 temporary jails in educational institutes to decongest existing prisons and these had been dissolved when the situation improved, Kumbhakoni said.

However, the state is now reclaiming the temporary prisons and had acquired 14, he said.

Moreover, the state had decided that no new inmate will be admitted to a prison without undergoing COVID-19 test, the advocate general said.

The court also directed the state to inform if there had been a drop in the crime rate since April 14, when stricter COVID-19 guidelines were announced by the chief minister.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...


Latest News

PRESS DIGEST-Financial Times - May 6

The following are the top stories in the Financial Times. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Headlines- UK dispatches navy vessels to Jersey as fishing row with France intensifies httpson.ft.com3xK...

BJP accuses KCR of utilising official state machinery against Etela Rajender

Bharatiya Janata Party BJP leader NV Subhash on Wednesday accused Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao KCR of utilising official state machinery against minister Etela Rajender, and said that he had stopped to the level of a gully leader. Ear...

Mexico's coronavirus death toll passes 218,000

Mexicos health ministry on Wednesday reported 267 new confirmed coronavirus deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to 218,007.Separate government data published in March suggested the real death toll may be at least ...

Australia races to trace source of COVID-19 mystery case in Sydney

Australian authorities were racing to track the source of a mystery COVID-19 infection in Sydney on Thursday, the first locally transmitted case in the city in more than a month, warning residents to brace for more cases.Health officials ar...

Give Feedback