The Calcutta High Court administration has communicated to all courts in the state a letter by the West Bengal government seeking liberal consideration of bail prayers of undertrial inmates so as to reduce the population in correctional homes in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
State Advocate General Kishore Dutta wrote to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court with reference to a suo moto case registered by the Supreme Court in connection with risks and prevention of the coronavirus inside correctional homes.
"On a direction by Chief Justice T B N Radhakrishnan, we have forwarded the communication to the judges of the high court and all subordinate courts in the state," Calcutta High Court Registrar General Rai Chattopadhyay said.
In the letter, the advocate general requested Chief Justice Radhakrishnan to "issue appropriate administrative directions to all the judges in West Bengal, including the judges of the high court, to consider liberally granting bail to under trial inmates with a view to reduce the correctional home population considering the present Novel Corona Virus scare".
The Supreme Court on Monday directed all states and union territories to constitute high-level committees to consider releasing on parole or interim bail prisoners and undertrials for offences entailing up to seven-year jail term to decongest prisons in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The top court said overcrowding of prisons is a matter of serious concern, particularly in the present context.
In regard to the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, it has become imperative to ensure that the spread of coronavirus within the prisons is controlled, the apex court said.
Most of the lawyers in different courts of the state are not appearing for hearings, following a resolution by the West Bengal Bar Council not to participate in judicial proceedings till March 31.
The Bar Council has said that considering a notification by the Calcutta High Court registrar general that only urgent matters would be listed for hearings before it as well as in its circuit benches and subordinate courts in the state till March 25, it has decided to extend its non- participation.
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