Apex court directs govt to release or reduce jail terms of inmates living in vulnerable conditions
September 10, 2020 05:47 PM NPT
KATHMANDU, Sept 10: The Supreme Court has directed the government to immediately release or reduce jail terms of inmates living in vulnerable conditions in various prisons across the country in view of the growing threats of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A division bench of Justices Sapana Malla Pradhan and Prakash Kumar Dhungana directed the government to release or reduce jail terms of children, pregnant women, women inmates who have newly-born children requiring breast-feeding and other inmates with complicated health conditions on priority basis.
The division bench of Pradhan and Dhungana also directed the government to take appropriate decisions whether to release immediately or reduce the jail term keeping in view of the nature of crimes and potential threat such a decision could pose to the law and order condition of the country.
The apex court verdict comes amid concerns from various quarters that the COVID-19 pandemic could fast spread in highly-crowded prisons across the country. The apex court verdict states that such a decision is necessary to ensure physical distancing as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to contain further spread of the COVID-19.
The verdict came in response to a writ petition filed by a group of inmates including Gopal Siwakoti Chintan, Ram Sharma, Man Bahadur Rawat, Khim Bahadur Sunar and Badri Kumar Thapa who are currently serving their jail term at the country’s central jail in Kathmandu. The petitioners have made the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Home Affairs, Office of the Attorney General, Department of Prison Management and District Administration Office as defendants.
The 43-page long verdict states that the Clause 2 of Infectious Disease Control Act 2020 BS paves way for the government to take special decision whether to immediately release the inmates or reduce their jail term to help contain possible spread of the infectious diseases.