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Delhi's Tihar Jail to Release 3,000 Prisoners to Arrest Spread of Coronavirus Amid Spike in Cases

File photo of Tihar Jail.

File photo of Tihar Jail.

The AAP government earlier today told the Delhi High Court it has decided to decongest its prisons to check the spread of coronavirus by providing convicts with the options of special parole and furlough.

New Delhi: Tihar Jail authorities have said that they will try to release about 3,000 prisoners in the next few days to contain the spread of the coronavirus infection as the number of positive cases rises across the country.

At least 1,500 convicts will be released under parole or furlough and 1,500 under trial prisoners on interim bail. However, this would not include hardened criminals.

"We will try to release around 1500 convicts (on parole / furlough) and around same number under trial prisoners (on interim-bail) in coming 3-4 days. To ease congestion in jails in the wake of threat of Coronavirus. This will not include hardened or dangerous criminals," the director general of Tihar Jail said.

According to the Health Ministry, there are 415 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections in India, with 29 of them in Delhi. At least eight people have died so far due to the virus.

Earlier on Monday, the AAP government told the Delhi High Court it has decided to decongest its prisons to check the spread of coronavirus by providing convicts with the options of special parole and furlough.

The Delhi government told a bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad that it was going to amend its prison rules to provide the options of special parole and furlough. The submission was made by the Delhi government's additional standing counsel Anuj Aggarwal who said a notification would be issued within a day to amend the prison rules to include the two new provisions.

Taking note of the submission, the bench directed the Delhi government to take steps during the day to implement what it has proposed and disposed of a plea moved by two lawyers seeking decongesting of the prisons in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bench disposed of the matter on the submission made by the government and did not examine the matter further, saying a similar issue has been taken up by the Supreme Court on its own.

first published:March 23, 2020, 19:48 IST