NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court of India on Friday asked states to release prisoners to decongest the country’s overcrowded prisons on account of the devastating second wave of COVID-19 raging throughout the country, NDTV reported.
A high-powered panel in each state has been tasked to determine who among the prisoners can be released on parole or interim bail.
“The Covid situation is alarming and we have to decongest the prisons,” Chief Justice NV Ramana said, adding orders passed in March last year will have to be repeated.
Last year, the court took suo motu cognisance of the risk of COVID-19 infection spreading within and from the overcrowded prisons across the country while passing the orders for the prisoners’ release.
The court had reasoned that social distancing, which is an effective check against the virus spread, was difficult to follow in the overcrowded prisons.
Around 45,000 prisoners were released in March last year after the top court’s order and the prisoners did return to the jails after the completion of the parole period.