'Can’t say if Nashik jail follows SOP to maintain social distance': Bombay HC on granting parole to life convict
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The Bombay HC last Wednesday ordered a life convict to be released on emergency parole stating in its order that on going through the data submitted by the state government regarding the total capacity of the Nashik Central jail and the prisoners currently lodged in it, that it cannot be said that the prison authorities are following SOP’s prescribed by the state government, more particularly the requirement of maintaining social distancing.

The state’s prosecutor had submitted during arguments opposing the plea for emergency parole of convict Anil Yadav, that the total capacity of the prison is 3,178 prisoners and presently 2,389 inmates are lodged in it. He had also submitted that in a single barrack measuring 1,500 sq. ft. 50 inmates are lodged and then admitted that it is not possible to follow rules of social distancing in the barrack.

A division bench of Justice SJ Kathawalla and Justice Surendra P. Tavade stated in their order, “On going through the data it cannot be said that the prison authorities are following the SOPs prescribed by the state government from time to time, more particularly the requirement of social distancing.”

The appeal by the convict to set aside the order of 19 March of the jail superintendent of the prison had come before the bench after another bench had directed the superintendent to reconsider the decision. The superintendent had once again rejected the plea for emergency parole. One of the grounds cited while doing so was that the prisoner had never sought parole or furlough earlier. The bench said regarding this, that that itself cannot be a ground for rejection of his application, especially when he is presently seeking release on emergency parole.

Appearing for the prisoner, advocate Bharat Manghani had argued that there was congestion in the jail even though the number of prisoners is now reduced and that the rules of social distancing cannot be followed with 50 inmates lodged in one barrack.

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