Rajasthan High Court: Accused to be Subjected to Custody Only If Tested Negative for COVID-19

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Rajasthan High Court has guided the State Government to conduct a COVID-19 test for anybody sent to judicial/police custody post the virus’ breakout. This is to ensure that only the individuals who are free from the malady of COVID-19 are behind bars.

Facts of the Case

One hundred thirty prisoners in Rajasthan tested positive for COVID-19. There is a high risk of the disease spreading in the state’s prison system.

The order stated that ‘only’ an accused who tests negative will face judicial or police custody. “Whenever discovered negative, at exactly that point permit such accused people to be remanded to jail custody/police custody”. The order said.

However, the order did not include the provisions for those accused that tested positive. Jail authorities in the State need to keep new jail entrants in detached wards. Their wards are to be separate from the general wards for jail prisoners, for 14 to 21 days.

Additionally, the Courts need to guide jail authorities to ensure that tests are undertaken for detainees before moving them from the detached wards to general ones. These steps are to prevent the coronavirus from spreading to detainees.

Consequently, authorities in direct contact with detainees testing positive require unique consideration guaranteeing that they remained protected from the disease. Furthermore, it asked authorities to guarantee the test for jail staff members and their relatives weekly despite the cost.

Medical officials of each region need to review segregation wards in jails. Thus, the proposal includes that jail authorities become responsible for the cleanliness and tidiness of the wards. Detainees testing positive should have access to doctors on an everyday basis.

Observations made by the Court

“The doctors will guarantee a visit to disconnected wards and examine the detainees there consistently and record the equivalent,” the order said.

The aforesaid changes are in the province of Rajasthan. “They need to incorporate bearings in their SOP for jails for the reason for the present COVID pandemic,” says the order.

The Additional Chief Secretary (Home) told the bench in his explanation that the State Government has made a Standard Operating Procedure to manage the confirmation of accused to jails.

In addition to that, he said according to the SOP; exceptional isolation wards have been made in jails where an accused or detainee is required to stay for 21 days. Therefore, post isolation if detainees test negative their transfer to the general wards takes place. The bench along these lines guided the State Government to further incorporate the new standards in the SOP.

Brief Instructions

  • It is necessary to test the accused of corona infection by nearby medical authorities.
  • The Court has ordered the formation of boards of trustees comprising of the secretary of region’s legitimate authority.
  • Additionally, the delegate/president/secretary of the nearby bar affiliation will visit each jail inside their regions and check the status of jails.
  • The boards of trustees will present a report before the part secretary of Rajasthan states legitimate administration authority (RSLSA) before May 22.
  • And the RSLSA will introduce it before the Court.

The Court scheduled the next hearing on May 27. In Rajasthan, there are almost 20,000 detainees in different jails having a lodging limit of 22,000.

Chief Justice Indrajit Mahanty and Justice Ashok Gaur headed the bench. Moreover, suo moto cognisance of the flare-up of cases led to the Court’s decision.


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