Following SC order to decongest jails: Convicts to get 8 weeks’ parole, undertrials 60 days’ interim bail

Jagpreet Singh Sandhu
To prevent spread in jails, Maharashtra may release 11,000 inmates on parole

The committee has further decided to release the under trials on interim bail of 60 days. (Representational Image)

In compliance with the Supreme Court’s order to set up a panel to consider the release of jail inmates, to decongest the jails in view of the COVID -19 spread, the special committee comprising SLSA Executive Chairman and IG Prisons have decided to release convicts on parole for eight weeks to those who are facing imprisonment of seven years or less.

The committee has further decided to release the under trials on interim bail of 60 days. Meanwhile, the SLSA Executive Chairman has directed the Chandigarh DLSA Secretary to conduct a special Lok Adalat for the jail under trial inmates within a week for the disposal of the under trials involved in petty offences.

The meeting of the committee was held on Thursday, in the presence of Justice Jaswant Singh, Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court-cum-Executive Chairman, State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Chandigarh, Arun Kumar Gupta, Principal Secretary Home department, Chandigarh, and Inspector General Prisons Omvir Singh, along with SLSA Member Secretary Mahavir Singh and CJM (Chief Judicial Magistrate) cum Secretary DLSA (District Legal Services Authority) Ashok Kumar Mann.

Speaking to Indian Express, CJM (Chief Judicial Magistrate) cum Secretary DLSA (District Legal Services Authority) Ashok Kumar Mann said that a meeting for compliance of the Supreme Court order was held Thursday evening. The release of the convicts and the under trials will be decided after considering their records, as per law.

The DLSA Secretary said that at present, there are 1,007 prisoners in the Burail Jail of Chandigarh, including the convicted and under trials, while, 14 convicts are already on parole.

“In the meeting it has been decided that a total of 8 weeks of parole will be granted to the convicts in jail, whereas a period of 60 days of special interim bail will be awarded to the under trials who are facing charges of imprisonment of seven or less than seven years of imprisonment”, said Secretary DLSA.

“Meanwhile, the 14 convicts who are already on parole, their parole period will be extended to eight weeks. There are 420 convicts in the jail who are entitled to parole, and out of which 261 never availed it, and thus the plea of 40-50 percent of the 261 convicts will be considered firstly but subject to condition of surety. There are 146 other convicts who have already availed parole, and also their record of parole is good as they surrendered on time, thus, around 60-70 percent among these will also get parole,” added the Secretary DLSA.

As per the official, there are six convicts, who had earlier absconded and are parole jumpers, while six are foreign nationals and are high risk prisoners, thus, they cannot be granted the parole benefit.