DIMAPUR, April 10 - Altogether 109 undertrial prisoners (UTPs) have been released on parole from the Dimapur Central Jail and 11 district jails in Nagaland as per a Supreme Court directive to decongest jails in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
A release from the Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) today said that on March 30, the Nagaland Government, in compliance with the apex court order, had constituted a high-power committee (HPC) headed by Justice S Serto, Executive Chairman of Nagaland State Legal Services Authority, and Principal Secretary (Home) Abhijit Sinha and Additional Director General (Prison) Renchamo P Kikon as members to look into the issue.
Jails in Nagaland have the capacity to accommodate 1,450 prisoners. Currently, there are 537 prisoners comprising UTPs and convicts, including 12 female inmates.
The HPC on April 1 decided that interim bail be granted to UTPs who are facing trial in cases in which the maximum punishment is up to seven years of imprisonment or if an UTP has more than one case and he is on bail in all the cases, except the one for which he is being considered and the same prescribes maximum punishment up to seven years in prison.
The inmates who are foreign nationals or undergoing trial under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, the POCSO Act, the Prevention of Corruption Act, for offences under Sections 376, 376(A), 376B, 376C, 376D and 376E of the IPC, acid attack cases, terror-related cases, cases investigated by CBI/ED/NIA/special cell of police, cases registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and NSA detainees were not considered for granting interim bail.
The HPC also stated that if any inmate, who is released under its recommendation, threatens or induces any witness or any person acquainted with the facts of the case or the victim of the case, will be immediately taken into custody.
The committee further directed the jail authorities to ensure social distancing between all prisoners/UTPs inside the jails. It said that transfer of prisoners from one prison to another must not be resorted to, except for decongesting.
A directive was also issued for creation of quarantine rooms/facilities where any prisoner exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19 can be immediately shifted. The committee said that prompt arrangements should be made for quickly shifting such sick prisoners to a nodal medical institution for further treatment.
Hand sanitiser: The State Geology and Mining Department handed over 260 litres of hand sanitiser prepared at its laboratory to Geology and Mining Minister V Kashiho Sangtam and School Education Adviser KT Sukhalu on Thursday.
Sangtam was instrumental in providing 200 litres of chemicals to the department for making the sanitiser.