SC requested to reconsider decision regarding release of under-trial prisoners

Web Desk
April 04, 2020

Lawyer Khawaja Haris sends recommendations to the apex court related to release of prisoners during coronavirus crisis

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ISLAMABAD: Senior lawyer Khawaja Haris requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan on Saturday to rescind its decision to suspend an earlier high court ruling that granted bail to undertrial prisoners during coronavirus pandemic.

In a set of recommendations submitted to the apex court today, Haris said that the Islamabad High Court announced the verdict in line with the law due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

He said that it is imperative that measures are taken to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Shedding light on the IHC decision, the legal practitioner said that a high court can grant bail to undertrial prisoners under extraordinary circumstances such as the prevailing one.

Haris said that the IHC verdict was not an impediment in the functioning of the executive branch of the government and the apex court should not declare it null and void, considering the pandemic.

“Until crime is proven the suspect is considered an innocent,” he said.

Last week, the Supreme Court suspended orders issued by the high courts relating to the release of under-trial prisoners amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

In its order, the top court said: “No further order shall be passed by any of the high courts and by any of the provincial governments/ICT/Gilgit-Baltistan of releasing the prisoners from the jails.”

In a previous hearing, the IHC had ordered the release of 24 suspects under trial for various corruption-related references filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

Earlier, the IHC had ordered the issuance of bail for prisoners who were facing trial for minor crimes to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. IHC Chief Justice Minallah had issued the order after hearing a case regarding 1,362 prisoners incarcerated in crowded jails.

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