Supreme Court: The bench of SA Bobde, CJ and L. Nageswara Rao, J has asked the Union of India to ensure that all the prisoners having been released by the States/Union Territories are not left stranded and they are provided transportation to reach their homes or given the option to stay in temporary shelter homes for the period of lockdown.
The said direction of the Court came after amicus curiae Senior advocate Dushyant Dave submitted before the Court that the prisoners who have been released according to the guidelines framed by the High Powered Committees in various States are stranded because they have no means to reach their homes or their places of residence. The Court, hence, directed that
“the Union of India may issue appropriate directions under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 or any other law for the time being in force.”
The Court, further, directed the States/Union Territories to ensure through Directors General of Police to provide safe transit to the prisoners who have been released so that they may reach their homes.
“They shall also be given an option for staying in temporary shelter homes during the period of lockdown.”
The Court had, on March 23, 2020, directed each State/Union Territory to constitute a High Powered Committee to determine which class of prisoners can be released on parole or an interim bail for such period as may be thought appropriate. It had said,
“Having regard to the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it has become imperative to ensure that the spread of the Corona Virus within the prisons is controlled.”
[IN RE: CONTAGION OF COVID 19 VIRUS IN PRISONS, 2020 SCC OnLine SC 356 , order dated 07.04.2020]