Corruption Free India Urges Supreme Court to Protect Prisoners From Covid-19 by Releasing Them Out
NGO CFI writes to CJI seeking intervention for releasing undertrials and those who are convicted for petty crimes
NEW DELHI, April 7, 2020 (Newswire.com) - New Delhi based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Corruption Free India (CFI) has urged the Supreme Court to direct States' Prisons' Head or Director General of Prisons to strictly implement the apex court's order to bail out undertrials and those convicted prisoners except the Once Convicted for Death in Prison and Death Sentences. The Supreme Court would be taking up a suo-motu writ petition - CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN PRISONS - on April 17. The Organisation has urged the Supreme Court to consider certain true facts while hearing the writ petition.
In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, Advocate Pramod S Tiwari, President & Trustee Corruption Free India said, "In view of surging cases of COVID-19 in India, lives of prisoners are at stake by not releasing them till date despite the current situation violating the Article 21 of the Constitution which protects life and personal liberty. Several states have put prisoners' life at risk by being Judgmental/Detrimental on who all should be released and who should remain inside the prisons."
The Constitution has given equal rights to every citizen and if a citizen is accused of any crime, that doesn't mean their rights can be curtailed. Hence, the CFI requested the CJI should take this on account and release all prisoners across the country instead of leaving the Decision Making with the High-Level Committee of the States. The CFI accused that the High-Level Committees have made a mockery of the lives of people who would be punished with death sentences due to the global outbreak and cascading impact of the COVID-19 on the lives of citizens languishing in prisons. "We have prayed that a direction should be given to the top Jail Authorities including DG Prisons across India and no decision making powers should be given to the High-Level Committees since these Committees' credibility is questionable. We have instances in Rajasthan where the Committee violated norms and prepared a list of 1328 Prisoners of their own choice. Powerful and rich prisoners of the state found their name in the list," said Tiwari, adding that even in Maharashtra High-Level Committee violated the norms.
The Maharashtra Committee, the above said directions shall not apply to the under-trial prisoners who are booked for serious economic offences/bank scams and offences under Special Acts (other than IPC) like MCOC, PMLA, MPID, NDPS, UAPA, etc. (and under-trial prisoners having their place of residence out of the Maharashtra). CFI alleged that this order is biased and in violation of the order to release prisoners by the Bench of the Chief Justice of India.
The lives of prisoners in Rajasthan are at stake and an Affidavit should be filed by the states to guarantee responsibility of their lives.
Source: Corruption Free India NGO