Covid-19: Jharkhand officials list 8,083 prisoners eligible for bail or parole to SC-appointed body

RANCHI: In a bid to decongest Jharkhand prisons during the second surge of Covid-19, jail officials have finalised a list of 8,083 prisoners eligible for bail or parole in accordance with a recent Supreme Court order, a top official said on Tuesday.

The tribal dominated state has severe over-crowding in its 30 jails that house over 21,000 prisoners against a capacity of 16,900.

“Jail Superintendents were asked to furnish list of prisoners who may be eligible for bail or parole as per the apex court order. The High-Powered Committee has received a list of 8,083 such prisoners from Jharkhand jails,” Inspector General, Prisons, Jharkhand Birendra Bhushan told PTI.

Taking note of the “unprecedented surge” in COVID-19 cases, the Supreme Court earlier this month had moved to decongest prisons housing around 4 lakh inmates across the country, stating that this was a matter of “health and right to life of” prisoners and police personnel.

Bhushan said if the bails and paroles are approved, the jails in the state will run as per capacity.

The list contains names of 1,029 prisoners from Birsa Munda Central Jail, Hotwar, Ranchi, 754 inmates of Jaiprakash Narayan Central Jail Hazaribag, 746 prisoners from Ghaghidih Central Jail, Jamshedpur and 687 prisoners of Dhanbad district jail.

Four hundred and forty seven prisoners were found eligible under the criteria at Chaibasa district jail, followed by 410 in Central jail Giridih, 320 from district jail, Chas, Bokaro and 313 from district jail, Saraikela.

The number of prisoners from the rest of the jails ranges between 49 and 276.

Jharkhand has 30 jails out of which 7 are Central jails, 15 district jails, one open jail and remaining are small sub-jails.

Apart from shortlisting eligible inmates, an exercise is also underway to rationalise the number of prisoners in view of the pandemic by shifting prisoners from overcrowded jails to less crowded jails.

The High-Powered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court had asked jail superintendents to shortlist prisoners and the under-trials for offences entailing up to 7-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, in line with the Supreme Court directive.

The high-powered committee in the state that comprises Justice AK Singh of Jharkhand High Court, Principal Secretary Home Rajiv Arun Ekka and IG Prisons Birendra Bhushan had met on May 17 to review the situation.

Ninety days parole can be sanctioned to eligible prisoners while the period for those already on parole can also be extended.