[Breaking] As Prisoners Start Testing Positive For Covid-19; Undertrials File Contempt Petition Before SC Against State of Maharashtra [Read Petition]

first_imgTop Stories[Breaking] As Prisoners Start Testing Positive For Covid-19; Undertrials File Contempt Petition Before SC Against State of Maharashtra [Read Petition] Nitish Kashyap7 May 2020 7:31 AMShare This – xUndertrial prisoners lodged in different jails across the State of Maharashtra have filed a contempt petition before the Supreme Court against the State of Maharashtra and the members of the High Powered Committee constituted by the State relating to the release of prisoners due to the threat of Covid-19, after several prisoners in the State have tested positive including 40 in Mumbai’s…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginUndertrial prisoners lodged in different jails across the State of Maharashtra have filed a contempt petition before the Supreme Court against the State of Maharashtra and the members of the High Powered Committee constituted by the State relating to the release of prisoners due to the threat of Covid-19, after several prisoners in the State have tested positive including 40 in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail. The petitioners allege that the State of Maharashtra committed breach of orders of the Supreme Court dated March 23 wherein all states and Union Territories were directed to set up high level committees to determine the class of prisoners who could be released on parole for four to six weeks in order to avoid overcrowding in prisons. Although a high power committee was set up by the State, it was decided that only those prisoners/undertrials accused of offences punishable with less than 7 years imprisonment will be released on emergency parole, whereas those accused under Special enactments like MCOCA, MPID, PMLA, NDPS, UAPA etc were excluded. Apart from the petition filed by two undertrials at Hasure jail in Aurangabad, challenging the said classification of prisoners by the High Powered Committee, Advocate SB Talekar, whose firm represented the undertrial petitioners, also wrote a letter to the Chief Justice regarding the same and the Principal bench took suo-motu cognizance of the letter and sought a reply from the High Power Committee. State had informed the High Court on April 24 that there has not been any positive case of coronavirus in prisons in the State as confirmed by DG (Prisons) at the time. A total of 11,000 prisoners were supposed to be released on emergency parole or temporary bail, however Public Prosecutor Deepak Thakare had informed the High Court that 4060 prisoners have been released on bail so far. “Despite a lapse of one and a half months from the decision of the High Power Committee, the State of Maharashtra has failed to release a single prisoner by granting emergency parole, despite making a express statement before the High Court of Bombay, thereby frustrating the purpose of the directions of this honourable Court”, the contempt petition states. The petition illustrates how there are a total of 25,745 prisoners in nine central prisons across the State even though the total sanctioned strength is 14,491. So these prisons are already overcrowded. As of today, 40 people including staffers have tested positive in Arthur Road Jail alone. Arthur Road has a sanctioned capacity of 800 prisoners but 2700 prisoners are currently lodged there. As per the contempt petition, four more prisoners were found infected with Covid-19, they had been transferred from Yerwada Central Prison to Satara District Prison. A special leave petition has also been filed by Nitin Shelke, an undertrial at Hasur jail, who was one of the petitioners before the Auranagabad bench.Click Here To Download Petition[Read Petition]Subscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more