Covid-19 and Prisoners Rights in Maharashtra
Pursuant to the Supreme Court order dated 23.03.2020, the High Powered Committee (HPC) was established in Maharashtra on 24.03.2020. The HPC Maharashtra took a decision on 25.05.2020 to release the under trial prisoners who committed crimes involving less than 7 years of imprisonment. On the next day the Home minister of state of Maharashtra in his press release declared that the state will release 11,000 prisoners across the state. Therefore, on 4.05.2020, Petitioner made a representation along with the recommendation to HPC Maharashtra requesting to consider the release of the prisoners who are in for more than 7 years imprisonment and also consider the class of prisoners who are vulnerable. However, until 6th may 2020 the state only released 5500 prisoners.
Meanwhile, it was found that in Arthur Road Central Jail in Mumbai, more than 100 prisoners and around 26 staff members got contracted to the deadly Coronavirus. Therefore, an IA for further de-congestion of prisons was filed in the Cri PIL No. 15 of 2018 on 11.5.2020, for decongesting prisons.