Delhi HC directs 3499 undertrials to surrender from March 7
The Delhi high court has directed 3,499 undertrial prisoners, who were granted interim bail to de-congest jails in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, to surrender from March 7 at the expiry of their bail terms.
A bench of justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh said it was “not inclined” to further extend the period of interim bail granted to prisoners under various criteria laid down by the high power committee in its several meetings.
“It is therefore directed that all the 3,499 undertrials granted interim bails under various criteria laid down by the high power committee — who have not obtained regular bails from their court concerned or any other superior court concerned — shall surrender before the jail superintendent upon expiry of the period of their interim bail commencing from March 7,” the bench said in its order passed on March 3 and made available on Saturday.
It added that as the 3,499 undertrials were given interim bails on different dates, so the period of their interim bails will expire with efflux of time on different dates and there was no requirement to fix any specific date for their surrender.
The decision of the court was based on the recommendation of the high powered committee constituted on the direction of the Supreme Court to decongest jails to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The high court while refusing to extend the interim bails considered the observations and recommendations made by the committee, the improved situation of Covid-19 in Delhi-NCR and the resolution passed by the committee on February 17 of not recommending further extension of interim bails to 3,499 undertrials.
It also took into consideration a March 1 direction of the Supreme Court, whereby 2,318 prisoners granted interim bails by trial courts and 356 prisoners granted bail by high court were asked to surrender within 15 days.
It also directed the director general (prisons) to ensure that this order is conveyed to all the 3,499 undertrials by telephone and all other available modes.