Sun, 20 Jun 2021

New Delhi [India], May 6 (ANI): As many as 319 Tihar Jail prisoners were infected with COVID-19 out of whom 65 have recovered and five have succumbed to the infection till May 3, the DG (Prisons) has informed the High Powered Committee (HPC).

This was stated by Sandeep Goel, Director General, Prisons, Delhi at a meeting held on Tuesday at 6 pm through video conferencing under the Chairpersonship of Justice Vipin Sanghi, Judge, High Court of Delhi and Executive Chairperson, Delhi State Legal Services Authority.

Goel informed that out of the 319 prisoners, 249 are active cases, 63 have been isolated in jail itself, 67 have been lodged in Central Jail Hospital (Tihar), 37 in Central Jail Hospital (Mandoli), 16 in Burari Hospital, 14 in Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) hospital, 5 in Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital, 4 in Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Hospital, one each in AIIMS and Max Hospital; whereas 41 such inmates have been released.

The committee was also informed that the jail administration is taking "extra" precautions with respect to inmates who are more than 55 years of age so that they are not 'immuno-compromised'.

Goel further assured the committee that they shall continue doing the needful.

In view of resolutions passed by this committee in the last meeting, they are carrying out 'Rapid Tests' of jail staff, paramilitary staff and others, as per ICMR guidelines, said the DG.

He further informed that 'thermal screening' of the jail staff is also being conducted beforeletting them enter the jail premises. He informed that jail staff are cautioned to wear masks and to maintain social distance while interacting with each other as well as with inmates, the committee was informed, adding that they have also been cautioned to wear Personal Protective Equipment PPE kits as per need.

Goel further informed that the jail staff is taking two-layer protection, i.e. in addition to using face Mask they have also been provided with visor's, which they are using regularly.

He also informed that till May 3, a total of 135 jail staff were found COVID-19 positive, out of which eight have already recovered.

He also apprised the chairperson that at present there are 127 active cases of jail staff, most of whom are home quarantined.

The High Powered Committee suggested that as the new variant of COVID-19 is more virulent, the jail staff as well as inmates be directed and provided with double masking i.e. one surgical mask and one cloth mask.

The DG Prisons assured that he shall provide these masks to jail staff as well as jailinmates and shall ensure that inmates and jail staff use double masking at all times.

Members of the committee after deliberations, reiterated that in terms of the resolution adopted in the earlier meeting, new entrants should be kept in "Isolation Cells" so as to prevent their intermingling with other inmates who are already inside the jail.

In an eventuality of under trial priosners/convicts surrendering in Delhi jails or sent after arrest, pursuant to any order passed by the court of law, the committee suggested that all such undertrial prisoners/convicts may be housed initially for a period of 14 days in the temporary Jail before sending them in the concerned Jail.

The High Powered Committee has suggested releasing undertrial prisoners on interim bail or emergency parole who are preferably on personal bond.

"The members of the committee discussed and deliberated upon the proposed category of prisoners, who may be considered for grant of interim bail for 90 days in view of the circumstances in which we are in, preferably on 'Personal Bond', " HPC said while releasing the list of category that will be benefitted.

As per the committee, inmates undergoing Civil Imprisonment, Undertrial prisoners (UTPs) who are facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of seven years or less wherein he/she is in custody for a period of 15 days or more; UTPs who are senior citizens more than 60 years of age and are in custody for three months or more, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 10 years or less will be among others who will get the benefit of interim bail or emergency parole.

UTPs who are suffering from HIV, Cancer, Chronic Kidney Dysfunction (UTPs requiring Dialysis), Hepatitis B or C, Asthma, and TB and are in custody, facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 10 years or less and are not involved in multiple cases are also among the categories that shall benefit from emergency parole.

Goel informed that on the basis of the above-mentioned criteria approximately 4,000 UTPs would benefit and their release would ease out the jail population.

The high powered committee directed Kanwal Jeet Arora, Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to request the Principal District and Sessions Judges to apprise all the judicial officers that in the event of court being satisfied that the undertrial prisoners falling in the above-mentioned criteria are to be released on interim bail, they may be released on 'Personal Bond', to the satisfaction of Jail Superintendent, so as to implement the social distancing policy of the government. (ANI)

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