April 16, 2021 8:07:56 pm
The Bombay High Court on Friday initiated a suo motu PIL raising concerns over the alarming rise in Covid-19 cases in March and April 2021 in prisons across Maharashtra.
The court asked the state government prison authorities to produce by the next hearing details of the Covid-19 status of prison staff and inmates, and measures taken or proposed to be taken to control the Covid-19 spread and decongest jails.
A vacation bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice C V Bhadang initiated the suo motu PIL in view of the rise in Covid-19 cases in March and April this year in prisons across the state.
The court referred to news reports that stated that almost 200 prisoners across 47 prisons had tested positive as on April 14. The HC noted that the number has gone up from 42 to 200 within about a month and 86 staff members working in prisons were also infected.
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“The reports however show a sudden rise of the COVID-19 cases in the State prisons, indicating a need for the Court’s intervention to revisit the measures. This is a fit case where the Court should take note of this situation and take up the cause in the public interest,” the bench noted in the order.
The court directed its registry to register a suo motu PIL in this regard and issued notices to secretaries of state home department and revenue department, Director General of Police, Director General of Prisons. Seeking details on status of prisoners and jail staff from the authorities, the HC posted hearing of PIL to April 20.
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