KOCHI : The Kerala High Court on Monday ordered release of all under-trial prisoners facing up to 7-year jail sentence, in the wake of rising instance of Covid outbreaks. A Full Bench ruled that these individuals could be let off on bail up to 30 April or end of lockdown period whichever falls later. The Bench comprised Justices CK Abdul Rahim, CT Ravi Kumar and Rajavijayaraghavan. The release order will not however apply to people who have an history of conviction or face multiple cases.
The Superintendents of respective jails can let off the eligible prisoners on self—bail terms. The prisoners must record details of place they would reside at and report to the nearest police station up on reaching there. The released persons are prohibited from travelling or making social engagements. If found violating bail conditions, arrest would be imminent . Everybody should appear in front of their respective courts soon as the bail term ends. The trial court has the discretion to then decide on extension of the bail term or otherwise. The order also directs setting up of video conferencing at District Courts, to assess bail applications of urgent nature. The defense lawyers and public prosecutors can present their arguments in these conferences. Emergency cases shall be considered by Division Bench at High Court via video conferencing .
The High Court had earlier ordered closure of all courts in the State. Today’s ruling comes in amendment to that ruling.