Murder Convicts, Out On Covid Parole, Move Court Citing Rise In Cases

As many as 49 murder convicts, released on parole in 2020 because of COVID-19, have approached the Supreme Court citing a rise in coronavirus cases in Maharashtra.

Murder Convicts, Out On Covid Parole, Move Court Citing Rise In Cases

The convicts have challenged Maharashtra government's circular for returning to jail. (Representational)

New Delhi:

A number of murder prisoners have moved the Supreme Court challenging a notification issued by the Maharashtra government directing all prisoners, who were released in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, to report back to jails for serving the remaining part of their sentences.

As many as 49 murder convicts, released on parole in May 2020 because of COVID-19, have approached the Supreme Court citing a rising number of coronavirus cases in the state.

They are serving life sentences in jails at Nashik, Aurangabad, Amaravati and Kolhapur and released on emergency parole after prison authorities favourably considered their plea for release.

They have challenged the state's May 4, 2022 circular requiring all inmates, who had been given temporary parole or bail, to surrender within 15 days.

On March 23, 2020, the Supreme Court had taken suo motu cognizance of overcrowding in the prisons and ordered each state to set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) to identify and release prisoners to avoid the spread of COVID-19 among inmates in prisons.

The Maharashtra government, on the basis of HPC recommendation, had issued a notification on May 8, 2020, directing that convict prisoners, whose maximum sentence is above seven years, shall on application be considered for emergency parole.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for convicts on Friday, sought an urgent hearing of their plea before a vacation bench of Justices AS Bopanna and Vikram Nath. The bench posted their plea for a hearing on Monday.

Mr Gonsalves said COVID-19 cases are on the rise in Maharashtra, posing a fresh danger to the lives of these convicts who were lodged in overcrowded prisons.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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