THE HARYANA government Thursday, in an advisory, asked police to not arrest first-time offenders in those cases, where the prescribed punishment is less than seven years. However, the accused can be arrested in case of any utmost necessity for purpose of investigation.
The direction was part of the recommendations made by the High Powered Committee constituted on orders of the Supreme Court to consider release of prisoners in wake of COVID-19 outbreak. A category of under-trials and convicts has already been ordered to be released to decongest the jails.
The minutes of the meeting held on March 30 under chairmanship of Justice Rajiv Sharma were forwarded Thursday by the state home department to Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners for immediate compliance. “Investigating Officers may be advised to avoid arresting first offenders booked for any offence punishable for imprisonment up to seven years unless it is of utmost necessary for the purpose of investigation. Commissioners of police, district supreintendents of police be asked to monitor such cases,” reads the advisory.
The government also ordered that all civil prisoners or those sentenced to simple imprisonment be released on interim bail or parole for six weeks or 45 days, respectively. “All convicts who have undergone their substantive sentences and (are) undergoing sentences for non-payment of fine and are not involved in any other case may be released on parole for six weeks, which may be extended up till eight weeks on execution of personal bond to the extent of fine due,” the order reads.
The prisoners will also include those who are in the prison in family matters for non-payment of maintenance under 125 Cr.PC.
The government also has ordered that those persons, who are in judicial custody awaiting filing of challan and have been booked in offences punishable for imprisonment up to seven years, be released on interim bail for at least six weeks. However, those involved in multiple cases; or convicted for offence under Section 379-B, POCSO Act, for rape, for acid attack, for terror related cases or anti-national activities and UAPA and for intermediate or large recovery of drugs ; or are foreign nationals will not be released.
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