Conduct random testing of inmates, deploy additional forces for prisons: HC to stateUpdated: Jul 02, 2020 19:40 IST
Mumbai: The Bombay high court (HC) has directed Maharashtra government and state prison authorities to conduct random coronavirus disease (Covid-19) tests of inmates and also scrupulously comply with the guidelines issued by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) while disposing of a clutch of public interest litigations (PILs)
The PILs were filed expressing concerns about the health condition of prison inmates after four undertrials had tested Covid-19 positive after their death a few weeks ago.
The HC on Thursday directed the prison authorities to deploy additional forces at jails and 36 makeshift jails in 27 districts in Maharashtra, where inmates have been kept under quarantine and also undergoing treatment for the viral infection.
The court also directed the Maharashtra government to implement all the measures that it had earlier formulated in the modified draft guidelines based on the suggestions of the petitioner, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), for containing the pandemic in prisons and other correctional homes.
It stressed on the need to share regular health updates of inmates with their family members while adhering to ICMR guidelines and other standard operating procedures (SOPs), which are being issued periodically.
A two-member division bench, comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik, pronounced its judgement on the PILs filed by PUCL, through senior counsel Mihir Desai along with advocates Isha Khandelwal and Kritika Agarwal; Geeta Bharat Jain, a politician represented by advocate Sunny Punamiya; Archana Rupawate also represented by senior counsel Mihir Desai and advocate Afreen Khan; and Devmani Shukla represented by advocate Bhavesh Parmar.
The bench read out the operative part of the judgement and accepted the assurances given by the state government regarding the precautionary measures that have been taken for the well-being of the inmates and prison staff.