HC closes PIL plea to decongest prisons

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MADURAI

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Wednesday closed a public interest litigation petition that sought a direction to the State to address the issue of overcrowding in prisons in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and B. Pugalendhi took cognisance of the fact that steps were already taken by the State government and the Prison Department for providing sanitisers and masks to the prisons and conducting medical tests.

In order to ensure physical distancing, prison adalats were being held to release petty offenders. Also, the prisoners were allowed to interact with family members via video calls, the State said.

However, the judges allowed the petitioner to file a fresh petition with regard to the premature release of convicted prisoners, granting parole to prisoners and extending parole period for prisoners in order to decongest prisons.

The PIL petition was filed by P. Thangaraj, coordinator of the Prisoners Reform Intervention Support Mission.

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