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Coronavirus: Criteria for release of undertrial prisoners on interim bail relaxed to decongest Delhi Jails

The decision was taken in a meeting of the High Powered Committee under the Chairmanship of Justice Hima Kohli.

Aditi Singh

In view of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the Supreme Court’s concern over overcrowding in jails, a High Powered Committee has relaxed the criteria for release of undertrial prisoners on interim bail from Delhi jails.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the High Powered Committee under the Chairmanship of Delhi High Court Judge and Executive Chairperson of Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Justice Hima Kohli.

The meeting was held through video-conferencing on March 28 and was attended by Principal Secretary (Home), Delhi Government; Director General (Prisons), Delhi as well as Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA).

The relaxed criteria for grant of interim bail to undertrial prisoners (UTPs) is as under:

(i) UTPs who are facing trial in a case which prescribes a maximum sentence of 7 years or less; or

(ii) Even if the UTP has more than one case and in all other cases he is “on bail” except the one for which he is being considered and the same prescribes punishment for 7 years or less ; and if

(iii) UTP is in custody for a period of one month or more;

(iv) In case of women UTP, if she is in custody for a period of 15 days or more.

The following categories of UTPs have been excluded from being considered for interim bail:

(i) All inmates who are undergoing trial for intermediary/large quantity recovery under NDPS Act;

(ii) Those undertrial prisoners who are facing trial under Section 4 & 6 of POCSO Act;

(iii) Those under trial prisoners who are facing trial for offences under section 376, 376A, 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E and acid attack;

(iv) Those UTPs who are foreign nationals;

(v) Those undertrial prisoners who are facing trial under Prevention of Corruption Act (PC Act)/PMLA; and

(vi) Cases investigated by CBI/ED/NIA/Special Cell Police and terror-related Cases, cases under anti-national activities and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act etc.

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