Haryana to bring back to jails 2,580 convicts released due to Covid-19

The convicts who were released due to Covid-19 pandemic under the orders of the high-powered committee will now be re-admitted to the respective jails. For this, the jail authorities have been directed to ensure re-admission of the convicts according to the criteria set by the high-powered committee and also to ensure that the re-admission of the convicts is based on the duration of their imprisonment from February 23.

A spokesman of Legal Services Authority on Tuesday said, “Under the orders of the high-powered committee constituted under the chairmanship of Justice Rajan Gupta, Punjab and Haryana High Court, Chandigarh and executive chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, due to COVID-19 pandemic, 2,580 convicts were released. Now a meeting of the high-powered committee regarding the permission of readmission of convicts was held in Narnaul today. The jail authorities and health officials have been directed to coordinate with each other to follow all the protocols during the entry of convicts into jails.”

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It was stated in the meeting that the parole/bail was being granted/extended to the convicts/under trials after duly taking into consideration the COVID-19 situation in order to avoid risk of infection inside the jails.

In view of the current prevailing situation, the committee has decided to start re-admission of convicts released on parole under the recommendations of the high-powered committee in nine phases. In the meeting, it was decided that the prisoners who were released on parole/furlough from February 1, 2021 onwards, shall surrender on expiry of period of parole/furlough granted to them by the competent authorities.

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“To avoid risk of infection inside the jails during situation of Covid-19 pandemic, meeting of prisoners with their family members was suspended. Now, High-Powered Committee has permitted re-start of meeting of prisoners with their family members from Monday to Friday in a week. Now the prisoners will be able to meet the undertrials with their family members twice a month while the convicts will be allowed to meet once a month. Undertrials shall be allowed to meet with their family members twice in a month whereas convicts would be allowed to meet once in a month. Jail officials have been directed to take all precautionary safeguards to avoid infection, i.e. wearing of mask, sanitisation of hands, social distancing etc during the visit. In addition, the committee has allowed the jail authorities to make transfers of prisoners from one jail to another only on security grounds or in view of COVID-19 issues,” the spokesman added.

It was also said in the meeting that release of convicts/undertrials on parole/bail had resulted in decongestion of jails allowing jail authorities to manage COVID pandemic situation in an efficient manner. No major cases of infection were reported in Haryana jails due to health protocol suggested and implemented under the orders of the high-powered committee.

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