The Delhi High Court today said that in view of a decline in COVID-19 cases, it was not inclined to further extend any interim orders on the release of inmates from jail and would direct their staggered surrender post-Diwali.
A bench headed by Justice Vipin Sanghi said that its order directing surrender would not apply to those who were either released under the recommendations of a High-Powered Committee (HPC) or orders passed by the Supreme Court.
The bench was hearing a suo motu case taken up by the court itself on the extension of interim orders on account of the second wave of the pandemic.
Supreme Court has also passed an order (ending extension of interim orders). We are not inclined to continue. We will pass an order. Those released on HPC, their surrender will depend on Supreme Court order,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Rekha Palli and Talwant Singh.
“We are not going to extend bails. We are disposing of the petition. We will do it in a staggered manner. We will ask all these people to surrender post-Diwali,” it added.
State counsel Santosh Tripathi said that the jail administration was prepared for the surrender of prisoners.
The court took up the matter suo motu earlier this year as it had done in March last year when the lockdown was in place in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In its order on April 20, the bench had extended all interim orders till July 16 except where the Supreme Court might have passed any contrary orders in any such matters.
The interim orders were then given further extensions from time to time.
On an earlier occasion, the Delhi government had informed the high court that 3,200 undertrials were out of jail due to extension of their interim bail orders on account of the second wave of COVID-19, out of which 45 were re-arrested for their involvement in other crimes.