A petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday (March 30) seeking parole or interim bail to prisoners, who are aged above 50 years and also suffering from diabetes, respiratory problems and other life threatening diseases, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plea, filed by advocate Amit Sahni, sought direction to the central and the state governments to consider granting the relief.
It said that as per World Health Organisation (WHO), older persons and those suffering from pre-existing medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and lung diseases can be seriously affected by COVID-19.
The plea said the apex court has already taken cognisance on its own about overcrowding in jails following the virus outbreak but the issue of vulnerability of certain category of persons including those above 50 years was not brought to its notice earlier.
On March 23, the top court had directed all the states and Union Territories to constitute high-level committees to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and undertrials for offences entailing up to seven-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
Sahni, in his plea, has said that persons over 50 years of age are “at more risk” if they are affected with coronavirus.
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“Persons with diabetes, respiratory problems, renal disease and other life threatening illness are also prone to COVID-19 and impact of the same can be severe in such persons,” the plea said.
It said since the issue was not brought up before the apex court earlier, no directions were passed regarding jail inmates above 50 years of age and those having medical conditions and the authorities were not considering them for release on parole or interim bail.
On March 16, the top court had taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of overcrowding of prisons across the country and said it is difficult for jail inmates to maintain social distancing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
(With inputs from agencies)