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SC directs prisoners released during pandemic to surrender in 15 days

They were released to prevent overcrowding in prisons


The Supreme Court on Friday directed all convicts and undertrial prisoners released during the Covid-19 pandmic to surrender within 15 days.

A bench of Justices M.R. Shah and C.T. Ravikumar said that the undertrial prisoners released on emergency bail during the pandemic can move for regular bail after their surrender.

"All the convicts who were released during COVID-19 pandemic after their surrender can move competent courts for suspension of their sentence", the bench said.

During the pandemic, several convicts and undertrial prisoners, especially booked for non-heinous offences, were released in various states on the recommendations of high-powered committee (HPC) set up in pursuant to directions of the apex court.

Meanwhile, SC also observed that the period of parole granted to prisoners during the pandemic inorder to prevent overcrowding of prisoners cannot be counted towards the period of actual imprisonment underwent by the prisoner, reported Live Law.

The bench dismissed the writ petition filed by a prisoner who sought for a declaration that the period of parole allowed by the HPC during the pandemic be counted towards the period of actual sentence.

The petitioner, who has been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment for murder offence has to undergo the said imprisonment, subject to any policy of remission and the period during which he was released on emergency parole has to be excluded from the period of actual imprisonment, the bench held.

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