Supreme Court overturns high courts’ orders in prisoners’ release case

The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Tuesday declared a decision by the Islamabad High Court’s decision to release of under-trail prisoners amidst the coronavirus pandemic in the country as null and void.

The decision was announced by a five-member larger bench under Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed.

During yesterday’s hearing, the top judge had remarked that the court could not release the under-trial prisoners. “The government needs to find a way around this. Those who have the virus will infect others as well. The government needs to impose precautionary measures in prisons,” he said.

Justice Qazi Ameen who was also part of the five-member bench had said the court was concerned about the lives of people. “If the infected person is not in the jail, others will be safe.”

Justice Atta Bandial questioned that if the infected person was not in jail, then how the others would be infected. “We need to make SOPs to deal with these situations. A large number of people live in police and army barracks and SOPs are followed there,” he said.

“Homes should not be compared to jails,” the attorney general had informed the court. “I have made my suggestions regarding the prisoner release.”

“What is the logic behind releasing prisoners doing time for serious crimes?” Justice Bandial had remarked. “We are aware the high court does not have the right to act suo motu action.”

The court had also directed that better facilities to be set up at Taftan border to screen patients and to keep them in isolation. “Proper quarantine centres and isolation wards should be set up at Taftan, Torkhan and Chaman borders. A quarantine centre should be set-up within the next two-weeks. Each person should have a separate room, bathroom and good food,” Justice Gulzar said.

More to follow…..

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