- Apprentice Lawyer
- Legal Jobs
In view of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic situation, the Madras High Court on Monday granted a further extension on the life of all interim orders and remand orders until June 30.
However, as far as orders concerning the grant of parole of leave to convicts are concerned, the Court has clarified that it has only granted a further extension by a week's time. Parole/ leave granted to life and other convicts have only been extended until June 8, when the matter will be considered again.
In this regard, the principal Bench comprising of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and Abdul Quddhose noted that if convicts, particularly life convicts, remain at large on account of interim orders passed during the lockdown, "there is every likelihood of a retaliatory attack in the form of grievous injury/ death also."
In any case, it was pointed out that it is well settled in law that "the stigma attached to the conviction remains, unless it is set aside by the Appellate Forum. Once a person is convicted, presumption of innocence is no longer available to him/her."
Therefore, it has listed the matter for June 8 to consider whether the interim orders for the temporary release of life convicts by interim order/ parole/ leave during the pandemic should be extended or not.
The Madurai Bench comprising of Justices PN Prakash and B Pugalendhi also passed an similar order the same day, stating, "we also direct the extension of various interim orders till 30.06.2020, except orders relating to grant of parole/leave, which are extended only till 08.06.2020.."
Notable, the Bench also extended until June 30 the life of reman orders under Sections 167 and 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, "without prejudice to the right of the prisoner to be release on bail in the meanwhile."
This direction was passed on noting that only 9 District Courts have become functional on June 1, following the High Court's decision to allow physical functioning in these courts and the Madurai Bench in a limited and staggered manner.
"Therefore, it will be very difficult for production of remand prisoners for extension of remand either under Section 167 or Section 309 Cr.P.C., before various Courts in the State, either in person or via video conferencing", it was observed.
As far as the period of limitation in various cases is concerned, it was noted that the Supreme Court's March 23 order, and other orders passed by the Supreme Court from time to time, will continue to apply.
The Madurai Bench order also adds that the web copy of its order in these matters can be utilised in lieu of the hard copy for official purposes, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, "ensuring that the copy of the order that is presented is the correct copy, shall be the responsibility of the advocate/litigant concerned."