The Haryana government has decided to extend till December 31 the duration of parole or interim bail granted to convicted prisoners in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jails Minister Ranjit Singh Chautala on Tuesday said nearly 7,000 prisoners are out on parole or interim bail.
Majority of these prisoners were released in April on interim or regular bail, parole or extended parole. Earlier, the state government had decided to release convicted prisoners with up to seven years of sentence and undertrials liable to get long jail terms on conviction.
Foreign prisoners, however, are not included in this. Also, prisoners convicted in cases like drug smuggling, rape, acid attack are not among those released. "As their parole was ending, it has been decided that it be extended till December 31," Chautala told reporters.
A high-powered committee under Justice Rajiv Sharma of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Additional Chief Secretary (Home), and DGP (prisons) held a review meeting recently on the issue of prisoners who were earlier released on parole after which the state government took the decision to extend the duration of the parole, he said. Earlier, Chautala had said the decision to release the prisoners had been taken in accordance with the Supreme Court's directive to decongest crowded prisons to prevent them from becoming fertile ground for COVID-19 spread. The committee was formed on the directive of the apex court, dated March 23, which had then passed the order for decongesting prisons in view of the pandemic.