WITH THE state compelled to release a large number of prisoners as a precautionary measure against coronavirus outbreak, the Punjab government has made it mandatory for the undertrials and convicts in drugs cases to strictly remain inside their homes only after granting of bail or parole and asked them to venture out only to obtain de-addiction treatment or in case of any medical emergency. Only those accused with small or intermediate recovery of contraband are being released by the state.
“In the interim bail order, (a) condition that the person shall be confined strictly to his/her home during the period of interim bail and under no circumstances other than to obtain de-addiction treatment/medical emergency shall leave the place of residence shall be specified,” the High Powered Committee, constituted on orders of the Supreme Court to decongest jails, said in an order passed on Saturday.
While the local police has to maintain a record of the released inmates and conduct a regular check on them, the panchayats are also to be informed by the state about the release to ensure that they also keep a watch on such persons to prevent repeating of any offence or violation of bail conditions.
The accused belonging to any other state are not being released, as per the procedure drafted for release under the NDPS Act.
The Committee Saturday also decided to extend the interim bail or parole of the recently released 5,931 undertrials and convicts of different crimes for another six weeks.
Specific prisons for new inmates
The Punjab government has notified four special jails at Bathinda, Barnala, Patti and Ludhiana for all new admissions of inmates to the jails in the state. The Women Jail in Ludhiana has been specially earmarked for women arrested anywhere in the state. The women prisoners arrested prior to February 16 have already been shifted to Sub-Jail Pathankot. “An Alternate Isolation Facility has been identified and notified for each prison in the state where prisoners from the respective jail can be isolated in case a COVID-19 positive case is detected in any prison,” said the minutes of the meeting held on Saturday by the committee