Screen foreign inmates for Covid-19, produce them in court virtually: MHA to states

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The Ministry of Home Affairs has written to chief secretaries, home secretaries and DG (prisons) of all states where foreign nationals are being held for violating the lockdown.

Inside a temporary jail set up by Bhatinda police on April 8

Inside a temporary jail set up by Bhatinda police on April 8 (Photo Credits: PTI)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • MHA has written to top state officials in this regard
  • Prisoners are to be produced before courts via video conferencing
  • Proper hygiene must be ensured at holding centres/camps: MHA

The Union Home Ministry has written to the chief secretaries, home secretaries and director-generals (prisons) of all states/UTs where foreign nationals are being held in detention centres for violating the lockdown. In its statements, Centre has repeatedly stated that the purpose of the nationwide lockdown is to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.

In the letter issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ foreigners’ division on Friday, states with detention centres housing foreign nationals have been asked to care for them in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Visitors are to be allowed to meet the inmates via eMulakat and in accordance with the e-prison project module to avoid physical contact between prisoners and their family members, MHA advised officials.

The MHA has also stated that all relevant precautions must be taken by prison authorities with no exceptions. “As far as possible, all the meetings of the detainees should be arranged via video conferencing and physical meetings should be discouraged,” said the letter.

In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Centre has instructed prison authorities to curtail the movement of detainees and produce them before courts via e-video link. The MHA has also instructed state governments to arrange medical equipment and kits to screen foreign detainees and their visitors to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. “Proper hygiene must be ensured at holding centres/camps to avoid further spread of Covid-19,” added the MHA’s letter.

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About the author: Sohom Das
Founder of Tuccho.

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