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The Court reiterated that all interim orders in criminal matters were extended till August 31 to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in jails.
Putting speculation to bed, a Full Bench of Delhi High Court clarified today that as per its order passed on July 13, all interim bail/parole orders, whether passed before or after March 16, 2020, shall be extended till August 31.
The statement was made by a three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh.
The Full Bench was hearing a clarification application made by an undertrial who was denied extension of his interim bail.
The Court reiterated that all interim orders in criminal matters were extended till August 31 to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in jails on account of the return of inmates.
The Full Bench also remarked that the order was passed in view of the concerns of the Director General, Prisons regarding overcrowding in jails and the impossibility of maintaining physical distancing amongst jail inmates.
The Court observed that the orders of the Full Bench ought not to be confused with the Division Bench, which is dealing with the recommendations made by the High Powered Committee.
During the course of the hearing, Standing Counsel (Crl) Rahul Mehra stated that he and his department was fully aware of the letter and spirit of the July 13 order.
He nonetheless pointed out that due to the extension, interim bail granted to those who are facing trial for serious offences under the NDPS Act and the UAPA etc, was getting extended in light of the Full Bench order.
The Court, however, observed that it was not concerned with individual cases.
In the end, Chief Justice DN Patel said,
"We will add 2-3 lines...Let August 31 be over. The July 13 order is explicitly clear."