Inmates getting cured, testing all not necessary: Govt to Bombay HC

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Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai | Updated: June 9, 2020 2:10:13 am

coronavirus in maharashtra, covid 19 cases in maharashtra, bombay high court, maharashtra prisoners covid 19 cases, maharashtra priosners coronavirus tets, indian express news The authorities submitted that facilities are made available for inmates to communicate with their family members. (File)

The state government informed the Bombay High Court on Monday that Covid-19 inmates are getting cured in Arthur Road Jail and that while 158 prisoners had tested positive for coronavirus last month, 60 are still positive after a recent test was conducted on June 5.

As directed by HC on May 26, state Inspector General of Prisons and Correctional Services Sunil Ramanand on Monday filed a compliance report to pleas raising concerns over several inmates and jail staffers testing positive for Covid-19. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), and other petitioners, Geeta Bharat Jain and Archana Rupawate, had moved the HC seeking relief for prisoners.

Last month, 158 prisoners and 26 staff members tested positive for coronavirus in Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail.

The reply filed by the prison authorities stated that swabs of 234 inmates were taken on May 5 and 7, of these 158 were found positive. On May 20, swabs of 220 inmates, including 158 inmates who had tested positive, were taken and tested, of these 96 were found positive. Thereafter, on June 5, swabs of 91 of these 96 positives were taken and tested, 60 of those were tested positive, the reply stated.

In view of this, the state government claimed, “It is clear from the statistics that Covid-19 infected inmates are getting cured in the Arthur Road correctional home due to unceasing efforts of the prison department and medical authorities.”

Moreover, the authorities claimed that all the inmates, total 2,082, were screened last week for Covid-19 (pulse, oxygen, temperature etc) and none of the inmates has been found to be symptomatic. The prison department said that it does not deem it necessary to obtain and test swabs of all the inmates as per latest guidelines by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The state government said that family members or relatives of Covid-19 positive inmates have been duly informed about their health status.

The authorities submitted that facilities are made available for inmates to communicate with their family members and lawyers with coin boxes and smartphones being provided in the correctional homes across state. “With these, the inmates are allowed communication, including video calls, with their family members and lawyers. In addition, female inmates are permitted to communicate with children who are in institutional homes,” the reply stated.

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