Interim bails, paroles extended to prevent Covid-19 spread in jails, says Delhi HC
“We are only concerned that those released (on bail or parole) should not return and spread the infection amongst the prisoners,” the high court said.Updated: Jul 24, 2020 13:35 IST
The Delhi High Court Friday said it was extending interim bails repeatedly to prevent the possible spread of Covid-19 among inmates from those returning to jail after the expiry of their bail or parole period during the persisting pandemic.
“We are only concerned that those released (on bail or parole) should not return and spread the infection amongst the prisoners,” the high court said.
The clarification by a full bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel came as an application was moved by a convict whose interim bail was not extended by a single judge who was of the view that the high court’s July 13 order extending all such reliefs to August 31 was not applicable to the convict.
The single judge said that the July 13 order was only applicable to those eligible for interim bail or parole as per the criteria laid down by the High Powered Committee (HPC) which was set up on the Supreme Court’s direction to decongest prisons for preventing spread of Covid-19 there.
During the hearing held via video conference on Friday, the full bench, also comprising of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh, said it did not go into merits of each case while extending the bails and paroles.
It said that the “fallacy” in the instant matter was that the “order of the full bench was being confused with the directions of the HPC”.
“Please do not confuse this (full bench order) with directions of the HPC,” the court said. The bench further said the extension order was passed as the Director General of Prisons said that the jails were overcrowded and it would be difficult to prevent spread of Covid-19 if they are not decongested.
“You cannot approbate and reprobate in the same breath,” the bench said to DG Prisons, represented by Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain.
The bench said that though there was no ambiguity in its July 13 order, it will clarify it further.
The July 13 order had come on a plea initiated by the high court on its own in April to ensure that expiry of orders during restricted functioning of the courts would not affect litigants, lawyers or prisoners since they would not be able to approach the courts during the lockdown prevailing then.
The detailed order of Friday (July 24) is awaited.
The main petition is listed for hearing on August 24 when the bench would decide whether to further extend the interim orders.
Presently, the hearings in the high court and district courts are being done through video conferencing due to the coronavirus pandemic.