AMARAVATI: Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Arup Kumar Goswami took into consideration the recent resolutions of a High Power Committee (HPC) over the conditions in the state jails and release of undertrial prisoners in the wake of the coronavirus spreading among prisoners there.
The Supreme Court (SC) ordered the constitution of an HPC in each state deliberating on the decongestion of the prisons in the wake of the pandemic. This committee was designated to determine which classes of prisoners were to be granted interim bail.
As part of this, a bench comprising Justices Chagari Praveen Kumar and Kanneganti Lalitha was constituted to order the release of the prisoners as per the resolutions. The bench, which had heard the whole matter as a Suo moto writ petition directed the Home Secretary and state DGP to direct jail superintendents, stations and house officers to release both under trials and convicts who have been imprisoned for lesser and non-heinous offences that attract less than seven years of maximum sentence. They will be released on a provisional bail for 90 days to reduce the overcrowding in prisons.
Highlights of High Court Orders
Prisoners and inmates who were released on interim bail last year and returned to jail should be given provisional bail serving sentences of seven years or less.
Prisoners convicted for the second time, prisoners facing trial in rape and POCSO Act cases should not be released.
The High Court has directed that bail bonds should be available to the satisfaction of the magistrates.
Interim bail for 90 days only is to be granted.
Ordered to take assurance from prisoners to stay in home quarantine for 14 days after release on provisional bail.
The tribunal directed that the orders be in force for eight weeks and that the district principal judges along with the officers take immediate action to enforce the orders.
The Director-General, Department of Prisons submitted a report to the High Court stating that out of the 79 jails in the state, have a capacity of 8,732 and currently host 6,905 inmates.
The new rule will be conditionally applicable till the time the Epidemic Diseases Act is in force and the High Court Bench posted the matter for hearing after six weeks.