Coronavirus outbreak: Petty crime undertrials may get conditional bail

Updated: 27 March, 2020 08:04 IST | Sanjeev Shivadekar | Mumbai

State home department has requested the judiciary to consider this given the health crisis which may make matters worse in overcrowded jails

This picture has been used for representation purpose
This picture has been used for representation purpose

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, undertrials who are behind bars for petty crimes are likely to be granted temporary bail. The process to implement this for accused facing sentences up to five years has been initiated by the state home department.

A committee comprising a High Court judge, a senior IPS officer, a prison department official and a member from the state home department will look into the terms and conditions for such cases.

Around 60,000 people are currently behind the bars (including convicts and under trials) in the state, the home department data says. This number is much higher than the total capacity of around 60 jails in the state and given the current health crisis, the state wants to decongest prisons as a preventive measure against the spread of Coronavirus.

Anil Deshmukh, state home minister, said that the judiciary has been requested to consider giving bail for prisoners in petty crimes. "The request has been accepted and accordingly a committee is being formed to determine which cases can be considered for granting bail on certain pre-conditions," he said. Before this plan is implemented, the state has also announced a health check-up of all prison inmates. In some cases, prisoners have also been moved from overcrowded jails to slightly emptier ones.

'Polite communication, please'

Home minister Anil Deshmukh has appealed to policemen and citizens to communicate politely with each other. Following reports of policemen and the public clashing with each other, the minister said, "The state has announced a complete shutdown. People are not expected to step out of the house unless it is really necessary. As part of their duty, police personnel might ask people the reason behind stepping out. This is not to harass anyone. I request people to please be polite in explaining their reasons."

Approx no. of people behind bars in jails across state

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First Published: 27 March, 2020 07:36 IST

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