Order of the Supreme Court of India regarding spread of COVID-19 in prisons, 07/05/2021

  • 07/05/2021

Order of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of 'In Re: Contagion of COVID-19 virus in prisons' dated 07/05/2021. The matter related to the risk of virus spreading in prisons and thus release of prisoners on interim bail/parole based upon the situation in the concerned state.

The SC noted that the prisons in India are overburdened and are housing inmates beyond optimal capacity. Thus, the requirement of de-congestion was a "matter concerning health and right to life of both the prison inmates and the police personnel working," the SC order of May 7, 2021 said.

The apex court directed that the high-powered committees constituted by the state governments/Union Territories should consider release of prisoners by adopting the guidelines followed by them last year, at the earliest. Further, all proper medical facilities must be provided to all prisoners and the spread of COVID-19 virus must be controlled in the prisons by regular testing being done of the prisoners but also the jail staff and immediate treatment should be made available to the inmates and the staff.