Panel rules out parole for prisoners
IMPHAL, 31st Mar: As concerns have been raised from different corners regarding the safety of jail inmates in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, a high powered committee meeting held on Tuesday has ruled out release of prisoners on parole while observing that adequate precautionary measures are being taken up to prevent any outbreak in the prisons of Manipur.
According to a statement of Manipur State Legal Services Authority (MSLSA) deputy member secretary Sorokhaibam Sadananda, a meeting of the high powered committee was held Tuesday in the office premises of MSLSA at Lamphel following the directive of the Supreme Court. The meeting, which was chaired by MSLSA executive chairman justice Kh Nobin was attended by chief secretary Dr J Suresh Babu, ADGP (Prison) P Doungel, MSLSA member secretary Golmei Gaiphulsilu, additional member secretary Ojesh Mutum, deputy member secretary Sorokhaibam Sadananda, special secretary (home) K Radhashyam, DLSA Imphal West K Nirojit and deputy secretary (home) Dr Th Charanjit.
ADGP (Prison) Doungel told the participants that Central Jail Sajiwa has a separate wing with capacity of accommodating 90 inmates in case of requiring quarantine facility while Imphal jail has a separate wing with the capacity of housing 10 inmates. As of now, 47 persons with suspected COVID-19 conditions are under quarantine in Sajiwa jail and three in Imphal jail. There is no issue of limited space in the present condition. As per Manipur Jail Manual 2018, capacity of Sajiwa jail is 845 inmates and Imphal jail is 250 inmates. At present, Sajiwa jail has 750 inmates and Imphal jail has 50 inmates, he said and added that there is no issue of overcrowding in both the jails. The meeting then unanimously agreed to put on hold the matter of releasing prisoners on parole or on bail as the jail authority are taking up preventive measures like regular screening for flu symptoms among the inmates, mandatory isolation of new inmates for 14 days and quarantine measures for suspected inmates. The meeting agreed to direct the state home department to set up temporary quarantine prisons in select areas in case number of suspected inmates increases. It also asked the DGP to issue instructions to release newly arrested individuals if they are arrested under bailable offence and to conduct proper medical checkup for every detained individual.
The meeting further agreed that magistrates should give proper COVID-19 instructions before sending any individual to judicial custody. It also resolved to convene another round of meeting as and when required depending on the condition.