Undertrials in national capital get a week extension on bail, SC extends interim order

New Delhi, Nov 25 : Undertrials, who got an extension on bail in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic in national capital, would not have to go back to jail immediately. The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended the stay of the Delhi High Court, directing prisoners to surrender before jail authorities, by a week.

On October 29, the Supreme Court had stayed the orders of the High Court directing to discontinue its blanket order extending all interim stays and bails granted prior to and during the Covid-19 lockdown after October 31. According to the High Court direction the prisoners had to surrender in a phased manner between November 2 and 13.

A three-judge bench Justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi today said the interim order passed on October 29, is extended by a week. The top court will conduct further hearing on the matter on December 01.

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Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, assisted by lawyer Satya Mitra, mentioned the matter on behalf of National Forum on Prison Reforms(NFPR).

The plea in the top court had said that the high court while passing this order had brushed aside, without even perusing, the recommendations/ orders of High-Powered Committee (HPC) of the Delhi High Court appointed by the top court for the release of prisoners on account of the real possibility of Covid spreading in the 16 Delhi Jails.

The plea stated that 2318 undertrials whose bail would be cancelled, would have to approach the court for continuation of bail, that itself would create confusion and stress on the lower courts. The court also stayed few of the directions issued by the high court in its order dated October 20 this year.

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The high court had in its order directed that there shall be no further extension of the interim bails granted to the 2318 under trial prisoners who were involved in heinous crimes.

“As far as the first category of 2318 undertrials involved in heinous crimes, who were granted interim bail by the District Courts, there shall be no further extension of interim bails under the orders of this Court,” said a three-judge bench of the high court presided by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justices Siddharth Mridul and Talwant Singh.

–IANS/
ss/anb/ash

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