Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked Director General of Prisons to continuously monitor wellbeing of prisoners and ensure their health and safety was not compromised in any manner even as it closed consideration of the prisoners issue as also regarding the status of J&K residents lodged in outside jails.
The directions followed information by DG prisons regarding the release of prisoners across J&K in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and also measures taken by various jail authorities in and outside prisons where residents of J&K are lodged.
The DG informed that 223 prisoners have been released and include 24 on parole. He said between 1 to 22nd April, a High Powered Committee has released a total of 92 under trial prisoners, 11 persons who had been arrested under Sections 107, 109, 151 CrPC, 24 prisoners on parole and 96 others.
The DG said steps have been taken by Superintendent Jails in Jammu to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infection.
Additionally, as per report received from Director General of Prisons, Haryana regarding prisoners from Jammu and Kashmir who are lodged in Haryana, the court was informed that 15 prisoners are lodged in District Jail, Karnal and 2 in District Jail, Jhajjar. Singh informed that all detainees of J&K lodged in Haryana are being screened by medical team twice a day and they have been found normal till April 21. Singh also filed a report by Amrish Gore, SP (Headquarters), from the office of the Prisons Department, Uttar Pradesh, informing that there are prisoners from Jammu and Kashmir in six jails in UP (Varanasi, Naini (Prayagraj), Agra, Barailly, Ahmednagar, Lucknow).
“The jail authorities are taking all steps for social distancing and ensuring the health and safety of the prisoners from Jammu and Kashmir,” said a division bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal.
“In view of the above, it would appear that the jail authorities are conscious of the responsibility regarding the health and safety of the residents of the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh who are lodged in prisons in other parts of India,” the court said, adding, “The DG Prisons shall continue to monitor their well-being and ensure that the health and safety is not compromised in any manner.”
The High Powered Committee constituted in terms of the order dated March 23 of the Supreme Court of India with regard to prisoners stands constituted and is also continuously taking steps and making recommendations for release of prisoners as directed, the court said.
“In view of the above, these two issues do not need to detain this court any further. So far as the consideration of these issues by this court is concerned, some are closed,” the court said, adding, “In case any difficulty is faced, it shall be open to the DG Prisons to approach this court for appropriate directions.” (GNS)
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