Covid-199 scare: Release of prisoners to decongest jails

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/3/2020 12:26:08 AM

PSA detainues’ release doesn’t fall within SC guidelines

JAMMU, Apr 2: Amid outbreak of deadly coronavirus, a high-powered committee constituted by the Jammu & Kashmir Government has maintained that release of detainees under the Public Safety Act (PSA) does not fall within the terms of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court to decongest jails.
Highly placed sources disclosed that the panel observed that release of persons detained under the PSA is “not in the terms of guidelines issued by the Supreme Court” for decongesting jails.
The panel headed by executive chairman State Legal Services Authority Justice Rajesh Bindal and comprising Principal Secretary Home Shaleen Kabra and Director General of Prisons VK Singh made this observation after Chief Justice of J&K High Court referred a representation to it for release of a PSA detenue.
The panel has categorically maintained that the representation for release of a PSA detenue cannot be considered, even as it has urged the authorities to re-consider these cases on merits given the prevailing situation.
The committee was constituted by the Home department after Supreme Court directed states to consider temporary release of prisoners who are involved in crimes carrying punishment upto seven years. The SC passed these directions to decongest jail in light of coronavirus outbreak.
The panel refused to consider temporary release of PSA cases even as a person can be jailed for maximum period of two years under the law. Presently, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, six top mainstream leaders and others are detained under the PSA.
On February 5, Union Home Ministry had informed the Parliament 389 people are in detention under the PSA. In the past two weeks, the government has released 47 PSA detainees booked under the law after abrogation of Article 370 by the BJP-led Central government on August 5.
According to a handout issued by J&K government last evening, the committee has passed directions for parole and interim bail respectively for convicts and under trails. Under the Public Safety Act, the government can also release detainees on parole.



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