The Delhi government has extended the emergency parole granted to more than 900 convicts across jails in the city by eight weeks, according to official documents.
The jails are being decongested to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The total number of inmates in the 16 jails here even after the emergency paroles to convicts is still more than their capacity, officials said.
“The Minister [Home], Govt. of Delhi has decided to extend the emergency parole by a period of another eight weeks, to all such convicts who were earlier released on emergency parole on or before April 30, 2020. The Minister has further decided that the extended period of emergency parole would count towards the sentence of the convict [sic],” read an order issued by the government order on May 22, which was accessed by The Hindu.
Around 900-1,000 convicts in different jails here were granted emergency parole from March 23 to April 30, said sources. Also, the period a convict spends on emergency parole will be counted as part of his sentence.
On March 16, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the risk of COVID-19 infection spreading within and from overcrowded prisons across the country. On March 23, the top court asked the State governments to consider giving parole to those facing up to seven-year jail term in a bid to decongest prisons on account of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Following the SC order, the government amended the Delhi Prisons Rules, 2018 and inserted a clause for emergency parole.
“In the event of emergent situations like threat of epidemic, natural disaster or any other situation or circumstances which warrant immediate easing of population of the inmates in the prison… the government may grant up to eight weeks parole in one spell in addition to the regular parole as provided in these Rules,” a notification issued by the Delhi government on March 23 had said.
On May 20, the government issued another notification which said that the number of spells (one spell is eight weeks) can be increased if the situation warrants it. Following it, they issued the May 22 order on the same.