Under trial prisoners be considered for release on interim bail: High Powered Committee
Prison authorities, police department and home department to arrange the logistics and transportation facilities for the released prisoners from the jails to their place of residences.
The High Powered Committee (HPC) of Manipur held a meeting through video conferencing to determine the cases of prisoners which can be released on parole or interim bail to avoid overcrowding or congestion in the jails.
The meeting was held on May 24 and it was attended by director general (Prisons), P Doungel; member secretary of Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MASLSA), Ojesh Mutum; special secretary (Home), Government of Manipur, H Gyan Prakash; deputy secretary (Home), Government of Manipur, Th Charanjeet Singh; and deputy member secretary of MASLSA, Sorokhaibam Sadananda.
A release signed by deputy member secretary of MASLSA said that the director general (Prisons) placed before the committee that the nine prisoners from Central Jail, Sajiwa (all first time offenders and mostly theft cases) may be considered for releasing them on interim bail. The chairman of HPC also raised the matter regarding present occupancy rate at the jails and possibility for releasing other eligible prisoners in compliance with the directions of Supreme Court. The matter regarding special provisions for prisoners who are found COVID-19 positive was also discussed.
DG (Prisons) also placed before the committee that occupancy rate for both the jails of Manipur are 71.48 percent and 17.6 percent only, it added.
The committee further discussed the functioning of Under Trial Review Committees (UTRCs) and effective implementation of NALSA’s Standing Operating Procedure on the subject.
It said that HPC recommended that nine under trial prisoners from Central Jail, Sajiwa be considered for release on interim bail on PR bonds by the concerned court or magistrate subject to such other conditions as may be imposed by them. It is, however clarified that no prisoner shall be released without their consent. It is also clarified that in view of the lockdown and the curfew announced by the state government; the prison authorities, police department and the home department are to arrange the logistics and transportation facilities for the released prisoners from the jails to their place of residences.
The committee recommended that for the quarantine prison opened at Ideal Teacher Training Academy, Sajiwa, necessary facilities as allotted to a COVID Care Centre should be provided by the home department in consultation with the health department. The facilities should include the presence of doctors and other medical staff, medicines, regular monitoring of the oxygen levels, oxygen concentrators for emergency use etc, the release said.
HPC also recommended that the home department shall, on priority basis, constitute proper UTRCs for Ukhrul, Kakching, Jiribam, Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Kangpokpi, Noney and Pherzawl districts, it added.