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No Police/Judicial Custody of Covid-19 positive accused, Rajasthan HC

The Rajasthan High Court on 17 May, 2020 {Suo Motu v. State Of Rajasthan} directed that the State Government to incorporate for the COVID-19 SOP for jails the requirements of having an accused being tested by local medical authorities for corona virus and if found negative, only then allow such accused person to be remanded to jail custody/police custody.

It was held by the Division Bench of Rajasthan High Court at Jaipur comprising, Chief Justice INDRAJIT MAHANTY & Justice ASHOK KUMAR GAUR, that after the accused is tested prior to his/her entry into the jail premises or police custody, the accused to spend a period of 21 days in Isolation Ward segregated separately from the General Ward for inhabitants of the jails as per existing practice. It was observed that the jail authorities must ensure that prior to releasing such prisoners from isolation, they must be once again presented before the local medical authorities for check up again to verify whether that prisoner has developed any symptom of corona virus and also carry out RT-PCR test to cover also possible asymptomatic prisoner. It was directed that once such clearance is obtained from the medical authorities, the jail authority may shift such prisoner or under-trial to the General Ward.

The aforesaid directions were being made to the State of Rajasthan by the HC in order to incorporate these directions in their SOP for jails for the purpose of the present COVID pandemic.

Present Suo Motu PIL was registered by the Rajasthan HC on the basis of news reported in various news channels of Rajasthan on 16.05.2020 in the evening that a huge number of approximately 55 prisoners, both convicts as well as under-trials at Jaipur District Jail were detected corona positive and the largest number out of them 48 infected persons were lodged in Central/District Jail, Jaipur.

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