Madras HC rejects PIL to use convicts for COVID-19 duty outside jails

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The petitioner R Sreedhar submitted that if they wish to do so, prisoners may be given an opportunity to serve society and may be rewarded by demonstrating the conduct during the time of such service, which in turn may be useful in obtaining pre-release. Refusing to accept the contention, however, the court said that in terms of the Prisons Act, employment of prisoners in jail premises in different spheres for their reform is already in place. At this stage, it added, it is not considered necessary to bring them outside the jails to assist police and other volunteers for security and other purposes in the present situation.

The Court verbatim stated that

"We agree with the submission of the state that taking the services of convicted people, who are presently in jails, outside jail premises may not only be fraught with risk, but there is no requirement as such made out either by the petitioner-in-person or by the state as of now," a special bench of Justice Vineet Kothari and Justice PushpaSathyanarayan said.

‘The employment of the jail inmates within the jail premises in different spheres for their reform has already been taking place in terms of the Prisons Act and the rules made thereunder,’ the bench said.

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