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Never thought I'd see my city like this: Sourav Ganguly on COVID-19 lockdown

By Pti

Kolkata, March 24: BCCI President and former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday (March 24) said the empty roads in his home city Kolkata, owing to a nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, are the kind of scenes he never thought he would witness in his lifetime.

"Never thought would see my city like this .. stay safe .. this will change soon for the better and affection to all...," Ganguly posted on his Twitter page alongside images of deserted roads.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to more than 16,000 deaths globally. In India, the number of positive cases has come close to 500 and nine people have died.

The pandemic has forced postponement or cancellation of almost every sports event in the country.

The Calcutta High Court formed a three-member panel to examine the situation in all correctional homes of West Bengal and prepare a report on the number of inmates who could be granted bail or parole to avoid crowding in jails, in view of the deadly outbreak.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice TBN Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee formed the committee with Justice Dipankar Datta, the chairman of State Legal Services Authority, as its head, and sought a report on the correctional homes by March 31.

The Director-General (prisons) and principal secretary, home department, are the two other members of the high court-constituted panel. The committee has been asked to propose criteria for granting bail to undertrial inmates and suggest whether prisoners in jail for over 10 years be granted parole under the present circumstances.

The high court took up the issue suo moto in light of a Supreme Court direction on Monday, asking all state governments and Union territories to set up high-level committees to determine the class of prisoners who could be released on parole for four to six weeks.

The apex court said prisoners convicted of or charged with offences having prison terms up to seven years can be given parole to decongest the jails. It had also said that several prison staff enter the prisons regularly, and so do visitors and lawyers and therefore, there is a high risk of transmission of COVID-19 to the prison inmates.

Most lawyers in the state have stopped appearing for hearings following a resolution passed by the West Bengal Bar Council for non-participation in judicial proceedings at the Calcutta High Court and other courts in the state till March 31 in view of the prevailing situation.

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Story first published: Tuesday, March 24, 2020, 15:51 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 24, 2020