“Alarming Conditions In Delhi Prisons”, PUDR Writes To Delhi HC Chief Justice Seeking Necessary Directions To Delhi Govt, Prison Authorities

first_imgNews Updates”Alarming Conditions In Delhi Prisons”, PUDR Writes To Delhi HC Chief Justice Seeking Necessary Directions To Delhi Govt, Prison Authorities Sparsh Upadhyay23 April 2021 9:28 AMShare This – xPeople’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has written a letter to the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, DN Patel regarding the alarming situation inside Delhi prisons in view of the virulent new wave of COVID. Referring to a report by the Indian Express, the letter states that there are presently 67 active cases of COVID among jail inmates and 11 among jail staff, including a jail superintendent and two prison doctors and that overall, around 200 prisoners and 300 staff members had tested positive in Delhi jails. Importantly, the letter states,”Prison inmates and staff are particularly vulnerable to COVID on account of deplorable medical facilities and overcrowding. The Supreme Court and Delhi High Court had recognized this fact, and with the constitution of a High-Powered Committee, 5124 prisoners had been released on interim bail, parole and on account of remission.”The Letter further submits that following orders of the same High Powered Committee dated 17 February 2021 directing the return of these prisoners, a large number of prisoners had returned to Tihar and Mandoli jails by early March. “As a result, the prison population has touched more than 20,000, double its capacity. Presently, there is no definite data on the number of prisoners who are particularly vulnerable to the virus on account of their age, comorbidities and other factors,” the letter submits.Significantly, the letter has highlighted that there is dire shortage of hospital beds, ICU facilities, oxygen, plasma and essential drugs, even though “frontline workers” are overstretched in providing care and that the status of health infrastructure within prisons is in an even more deplorable condition. In view of these submissions, the letter states that the explosion of the infection within Delhi prisons may be an effective death sentence. Therefore, the letter urges the Chief Justice to consider issuing appropriate directions to the state government, prison authorities, and others to uphold the right to health of prisoners, including the following: Initiate prison-wide testing drives, of inmates and staff, to assess the extent of the spread of the contagion. This information should be made publicly accessible. Guidelines may be issued to ensure continuous monitoring by providing rapid test kits. Increase the capacity of hospital wards inside prisons by providing more beds, necessary medical equipment, paramedical staff, and ambulances. All prison inmates and staff, including medical staff, should be supplied with masks, gloves, PPE kits etc. to prevent further spread of the virus. Immediate release of all vulnerable prisoners, irrespective of the nature of their offence or sentence, who are able to return to their families on interim bail/parole.Vulnerable prisoners include women and children, all prisoners above the age of 50 years, and those with co-morbidities or disabilities.Those unable to furnish sureties should be released on personal bonds. Authorities should ensure safe passage to those released. Further, ensure that other due process rights of prisoners are not suspended. These include the right to be produced before Magistrates through appropriate means, right to apply for bail and other legal remedies, right to e-mulaqats with families, caretakers, lawyers etc. The letter could be read here.TagsPrisoners right PUDR Delhi HC Chief Justice Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel Alarming Conditions In Delhi Prisons prisoners in delhi delhi prisoners Right to Health Prisoners Rights Vaccination Next Storylast_img read more