Taking into consideration the worsening Covid-19 situation, the parole and interim bail time of over 450 undertrials and convicts who were lodged at Model Jail, Sector 51, Chandigarh, also known as Burail Jail, has been extended from four to seven weeks by the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA).
As of March 26, 1,007 prisoners (947 males, 56 females, 4 children) were lodged in the jail, against the sanctioned strength of 1,120. During the pandemic, 47.56% of the undertrials/convicts were released.
A meeting in this regard was held on Thursday under the chairmanship of justice Jaswant Singh, judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court, and executive chairman, SLSA. The meeting was attended through video-conferencing by Mahavir Singh, member secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh, Ashok Kumar Mann, chief judicial magistrate-cum-secretary, District Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, IG (prisons) Ombir Singh and others.
It was mentioned in the meeting that earlier, the undertrials were released on special interim bail for an initial period of 60 days and thereafter, the special bail period was further extended on May 16 and again on June 20. They were due to return to the jail shortly.
“In the prevailing Covid-19 situation, re-admitting those undertrial prisoners back into the jail poses enormous risk and will defeat the whole purpose of releasing them in the first place,” Mann said.
Hence, the extension period of the undertrials scheduled to return between August 14 to 31 has been increased by seven weeks.
For those undertrial prisoners who were scheduled to return between September 1 to 15, the extension is by five weeks; for those scheduled to return between September 16 to 30, the extension is by four weeks.
Similarly, the convicted prisoners who were released on special parole for an initial period of 56 days and thereafter, the special parole period was extended from May 16 to 20, have also been granted extension from four weeks to seven weeks.