Sixty-five prisoners, including 22 who were arrested underPublic Safety Act (PSA), were released to decongest jails across Jammu andKashmir in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The information was given by the director general of prisonsin a written report submitted to the division bench of Jammu and Kashmir HighCourt here.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and JusticeRajnesh Oswal, was hearing a PIL pertaining to spread of novel coronavirusthrough video-conferencing.
The report pertaining to release of prisoners in the wake ofthe coronavirus outbreak was also pursued by the court.
The director general prisons, through his report, apprisedthe bench that as on April 7, pursuant to deliberations held by high poweredcommittee, 22 Public Safety Act detenues, 32 undertrials, nine under trialprisoners falling under section 107,109,151 of the CrPC have been released andsanction for parole has been granted to 19 other prisoners.
The court was informed that two prisoners have already beenreleased on parole and all the steps for ensuring the health of the detenueswhether lodged in Jammu and Kashmir or outside the UT and their protection fromCOVID-19 infection are being taken.
On March 30, the Jammu and Kashmir government hadconstituted a high-powered committee to decide about the temporary release ofconvicts and under-trails to decongest jails across the Union Territory in thewake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The division bench directed the Department of Health andMedical Education to make available adequate equipment of every kind for theuse of health care personnel and all other personnel involved in any aspect ofCOVID-19 issue.
The court directed the department to file a report regardingprocurement of more equipment as also creation of isolation wards, samplecollection, processing and screening areas as per established protocols.
The division bench directed the chief secretary of Jammu andKashmir to constitute a committee within four days to examine all aspectsrelating to the matter, including the impact of the pollen and fluff from thepoplar trees.The court directed that the committee thusconstituted shall forward its report to the Department of Health & MedicalEducation as well as to the Forest Department, which shall consider the reportand place their view before the chief secretary and thereafter, the chiefsecretary shall file his final recommendations in the court.