Gauhati HC eases terms for release of foreigner detenues as Covid cases surge

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Guwahati, May 16 (PTI) The Gauhati High Court has eased the condition of releasing declared foreigners on completion of two years in detention from prisons due to the exceptional circumstances of the second wave of Covid pandemic.

In an order issued on April 15 last year, the high court had permitted release of a detainee after completing two years on a personal bond of Rs 5,000 and two sureties, following a Supreme Court ruling.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia and Justice Manash Ranjan Pathak modified the order saying that instead of two sureties, a foreigner detenue can now be freed on one surety because of the pandemic situation.

The court passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Samsul Hoque, who was declared a foreigner by the Foreigners' Tribunal.

'Let copies of this order be communicated to all the Superintendent of Police (Border) of all the districts, including the Superintendent and authorities of all the jails and such detentions where foreigners are being detained,' the bench said in the order.

The judgment passed on May 10 had directed that Hoque be released on completion of two years on May 13.

In an order on April 13, 2020, the Supreme Court had diluted the terms for the release of the inmates lodged in six detention camps in Assam to two years from three years earlier and the surety amount to Rs 5,000 from the previous Rs 1 lakh.

On March 23 last year, the apex court had directed all states and Union Territories to constitute high-level committees to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and undertrials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. PTI TR NN NN

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