Authorities in Maharashtra have released over 7,200 prisoners so far to check overcrowding in jails amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said on Sunday.
Around 10000 more will be released shortly, they said.
In a bid to decongest state jails due to coronavirus outbreak, the state prisons department has so far released over 7,200 prisoners across the state on either temporary bail or parole, an official said.
Following the Supreme Court directives to states and Union territories to set up a panel to consider the release of prisoners on parole to avoid overcrowding in jails to check the spread of coronavirus, the state government had said that around 11,000 prisoners in Maharashtra, whose sentence period is less than seven years, would be released temporarily.
"The pre-lockdown population in the 60 prisons across the state was over 35,000 and so far we have released over 7,200 inmates temporarily to decongest the jails," an official from the prisons department said.
In all, around 17,000 jail inmates would be released on temporary bail or parole, he said.
A high-powered committee appointed by the state government recently decided to release 50 per cent prisoners from various jails across the states and this figure is around 17,000, he said.
The committee's decision came after over 100 inmates and staff of central Mumbai's Arthur Road Jail tested positive for COVID-19.
The pre-lockdown population of Arthur Road Jail was 2,300, of which around 700 prisoners were released, he said.
There are 1,572 inmates in the jail now, he added.