Gauhati High Court recently said, “appropriate precautions and measures were not taken to avoid spread of the virus in the jails” while announcing that all the inmates of Assam jail have to be tested for COVID-19.
The National Human Rights Commission and the Assam Human Rights Commission have also been active on the issue.
A division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Ajai Lamba and Justice Manish Choudhury, on 23 July has asked the Assam Inspector-general of prisons to file an affidavit by September 8 which is the next hearing day in the case. The judges want figures related to the number of COVID positive cases in each jail and want to know what precautions were taken before the inmates contacted with the disease and the steps taken to disinfect the jails and treatment of jail inmates.
The court also asked for the number of asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid-19 positive inmates in each jail separately.
The bench commented, “Prima facie it is evident that some person from outside has been a carrier and transmitted the disease within jails. Appropriate precautions and measures were not taken to avoid the spread of the virus in the jails”.
The high court has ordered the authorities to provide the best treatment to jail inmates to stop any further damage to them.
The bench also ordered that inmates with Covid-19 be isolated from rest who have not been detected with the virus so that the disease does not spread to them. The court said, “All the jail inmates in Assam (must) be tested for Covid-19 and the result thereof conveyed to the court”.