The Hon’ble Delhi High Court on 09.04.2020 passed an order allowing the under-trial prisoners to be released on furnishing personal bond to the satisfaction of Superintendent of Jail.

The said order was passed in accordance with the Resolution passed by the High Powered Committee in pursuance of the directions contained in the order dated 23.03.2020 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in Re: Contagion of Covid-19 Virus in Prisons.

The Apex Court passed directions on 23.03.2020 for decongestion of prisons in order to ensure prevention of the spread of Covid-19.

In the Resolution passed on 07.04.2020, the High Powered Committee had recommended the release of under trial prisoners even if they were unable to furnish bail bonds or surety bonds. Furthermore, the committee opined that the Delhi High Court should pass a Judicial Order to modify bail orders passed either by High Court of Delhi or any court subordinate to it, and do away with the condition of furnishing bail or surety bonds, and instead allow such UTPs to be released on furnishing personal bonds.

Rahul Mehra, advocate for the petitioner referred to the cases of Moti Ram Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh and R.D. Upadyay Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh wherein bail was granted on furnishing of personal bonds alone.

The division bench of the Delhi High Court comprising of Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri, on 09.04.2020 considered the recommendations of the High Powered Committee and thereby stated as follows, “Thus all bail orders, passed by this Court or by the Courts subordinate to it, on or before 7th April, 2020, in pursuance whereto the under-trial prisons have not been released on bail owing to failure to satisfy the condition of furnishing surety bond, are modified and be read as granting bail without the condition of furnishing surety bond and instead allowing such under-trial prisoners to be released on their furnishing personal bond to the satisfaction of Superintendent of Jail.”

The division bench also directed the Directorate of prison along with the Member Secretary Delhi State Legal Services Authority and Principal Secretary (Home), Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi to thereby do the needful to comply with the order.