State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, on a visit to Thane on Thursday, said 3,500 prisoners will be released from jails in the district. “Once they come out of the jail, the police administration and collectorate along with others will ensure that arrangements are made to drop them to their homes. If they live outside the district, they will be escorted to a bus for their homes,” Deshmukh said at Thane police commissionerate.The 3,500 are part of 17,000 prisoners announced to be released.
After the recommendation made by the high-powered committee Monday, six undertrials were released Thursday from Mumbai Central Jail. Till Thursday evening, as per information provided by the prison department, 1,827 convicts, including 121 from five prisons in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, were released on emergency parole.
The committee had recommended release all undertrials except those charged with serious offences. District Legal Services
Authority officials said information on all undertrials eligible for release will be collated from courts and the process for granting them temporary bail will begin.
So far, 5,105 undertrials who face up to seven years in jail, have also been released. The decision on Monday will pave way for the release of a total of 17,642 prisoners across the state, nearly half of the entire prison population. Last week, 184 – including 158 inmates and 26 staffers – had tested positive for COVID-19 at Mumbai Central Jail, also known as Arthur Road jail. A 54-year old inmate had also tested positive at Byculla women’s jail last week. Prison officials said no more tests were conducted in the jail.
Online money transfer
Undertrials in the state are entitled to Rs 4,500 per month sent through money order by their family. Many family members of inmates have complained that while they had sent a money order in March, they did not receive any acknowledgment or receipt from the jail. Mumbai Central Jail officials have issued a circular, stating that the money could be transferred through online transactions during the lockdown.
303 IPC in minutes
On Monday, the high-powered committee in its minutes of the meeting, mentioned certain sections of the Indian Penal Code and other special Acts, which if applied on an undertrial, will not make them eligible for release. One of them is Section 303 of IPC, instead of Section 302, for murder. While it is defined as punishment for murder as per the IPC, legal experts said the section has been rendered unconstitutional and struck down by the Supreme Court as it mandated death sentence if a person is convicted for life imprisonment.
Undertrials, including Sanjeev Khanna – booked for the alleged murder of Sheena Bora, the daughter of his ex-wife Indrani Mukerjea – who sought bail on the same ground, Thursday said that while he was charged under Section 302, the section was not part of the list of exceptions as per the committee. The court has directed the CBI to file its reply on the plea Saturday.
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