The Rajasthan government on Wednesday issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for arresting an accused during the coronavirus pandemic, making it mandatory for police personnel to wear gloves and masks.
Police custody of an accused should be sought only in most urgent cases. The accused will also be made to wear a mask and a cap during the arrest, the Home Department said in an official order.
The 14-point SOP was issued by the state government in compliance with a Rajasthan High Court order.
Taking suo moto cognisance of the spread of coronavirus in Jaipur district jail, the high court had on Sunday directed the state government to come up with an SOP for admission of accused to jail.
According to the SOP, police personnel have to wear a mask and gloves while searching an accused and they should be washed after use; lock-ups in police stations need to be sanitised with sodium hypochlorite and social distancing should be ensured.
The lock-up will be sanitised again when the accused leaves and the blanket used by him/her shall be washed. The next accused shall be given things separately, it said.
"The arrested accused shall be presented before magistrate in person or via video conference as soon as possible for custody. The accused, thereafter, will be admitted to jail ward/isolation ward of district hospital for COVID-19 test," the order stated.
The district police will make arrangements to keep the accused under watch till the test report is received, it said.
If the test report is positive, then action shall be taken as per the COVID-19 protocol of the medical department. If the report comes back negative, then the accused will be sent to jail where he/she will be kept in isolation ward for 21 days, it added.
The Home Department said after three weeks in the isolation ward, the accused shall be tested again for COVID-19.
If granted bail by a court, the accused has to undergo 14-day home quarantine and if denied bail, then he/she shall be shifted to the general ward of the jail, it said.
According to the order, jail officers and staff who come in direct contact with the accused in the isolation ward should be more cautious. Random testing of jail staff and their family members will be conducted.
Also, health officials will conduct regular check-ups of prisoners and will also give suggestions to jail authorities about steps for sanitisation etc.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)