With many inmates lodged in Delhi jails seeking bail on the ground that there is a risk of contracting COVID-19, the Delhi High Court has sought details from Tihar Jail authorities on whether there are any infected inmates within the jail premises.
The information was sought after a bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Yogesh Khanna noticed that two of the pleas listed before it on May 1 sought interim bail citing the potential risk of COVID-19 infection.
It also noted that earlier too, many sought relief on the same grounds and that they claimed to be suffering from high blood pressure, heart ailments and thyroid.
The bench sought a status report on their claims and directed jail authorities to also place before it the medical report of the appellants prepared by the jail hospital.
One of the petitioners, Sushila, is serving a life sentence in the dowry death case of her daughter-in-law, who died of burn injuries. Another petitioner, Raju Chandolia, is serving 10 years in jail for a dacoity and murder case.
They claimed their natural immunity is low and they are increasingly prone to contracting coronavirus if they continue living in conditions prevalent in the jail.
The bench directed, “The status report should specifically disclose if there are any COVID-19 infected patients within the jail premises; whether social distancing norms are being maintained within the jail premises…”
In case of Sushila, the bench also sought the opinion of a doctor on if it is necessary for her to be taken to another hospital for examination or treatment. On Chandolia’s application, it sought his latest nominal roll from the jail superintendent.
On a similar interim bail plea of a murder accused, Justice Brijesh Sethi sought a report from jail authorities on steps taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in 16 of their jails, located at Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini, having a cumulative holding capacity of 10,026 prisoners.
All courts in Delhi, including the Delhi High Court, have heard more than 11,427 urgent matters after the announcement of lockdown due to coronavirus.
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