Odisha to release prisoners tried for bailable offences

Bhubaneswar: In the wake of rapid spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country, Odisha government has decided to release undertrial prisoners accused of bailable offences, to minimise crowd in jails.

In this regard, Home Odisha has written to Orissa High Court mentioning that there is a provision to release the prisoners under sections 436 and 436-A of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) during the period of crisis.

Referring to a writ petition heard by the Supreme Court of India in the year 2017, the Department stated that the apex court had directed to exercise above these CrPC sections.

Under these two sections of CrPC, the prisoners accused of bailable offences, who have spent almost 50% of total sentence pronounced by the courts, can be released during such emergency period.

Even the undertrial prisoners (UTPs), who have failed to furnish bail bond, can walk out of jails on this ground. In such case, an UTP can be released by producing personal bond before the court, the Home department stated.

Worth mentioning, the government has been laying emphasis on maintaining social distancing to combat COVID-19 following the two positive cases reported in the state. The highly infectious disease has claimed over 22,000 lives so far across the world. In India, toll increased to 13 as on March 26.

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