More than 19 per cent of the prisoners released on interim bail or emergency parole from different jails of the national capital over the past two years are yet to return, according to data shared by authorities under the Right to Information Act.
During the devastating coronavirus waves in 2020 and 2021, the three prisons in Delhi -- Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli -- had released inmates after a Supreme Court order as part of measures to decongest jails.
According to data shared by jail authorities, 5,525 prisoners were released on interim bail and emergency parole in the past two years, and 1,063 (19.23 per cent) of them are yet to return to serve their remaining sentences.
A senior jail official of Delhi Prisons Department said the Supreme Court had ordered that prisoners who were released during the second wave in 2021 would not be asked to surrender until further orders. The stay still continues, the officer said.
The three Delhi prison complexes house multiple jails named and numbered as Central Jails. In a response to an RTI query filed by this correspondent about the release of prisoners since April 1 2020, the office of superintendent of prison (Tihar Central Jail Number 3) said on August 24 that 1,359 inmates were released form this particular jail on interim bail or emergency parole.
''A total number of 376 prisoners have not surrendered till date after interim bail/emergency parole,'' the response said.
Similar RTI queries filed to other jails in Delhi revealed hundreds of prisoners are yet to report back.
The office of superintendent of prison (Tihar Central Jail Number 4) said 2,358 prisoners had been released on interim bail or emergency parole. Of them, 389 are yet to return to serve their remaining sentences, it said on September 9.
The office of superintendent of prisons (Tihar Central Jail Number 5) said that 315 and 236 inmates had been released in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
Out of 315 prisoners released in 2020, 160 are yet to return, according to the RTI reply dated September 5.
The reply said no direction has been received in till date (September 5) for the surrender of UTPs (undertrial prisoners) who have been released on interim bail under the guidelines of HPC (high power committee).
In the Tihar Central Jail Number 7, 354 prisoners had been given interim bail or emergency parole, ''sixty seven inmates did not return on their own''.
According to the response by Central Jail number 14, which is in Mandoli prison complex, 69 inmates were released since April, 2020 on interim bail. Emergency parol were given to 172 and 199 convicts respectively in 2020 and 2021.
The office of superintendent of prisons (Mandoli Central Jail number 14), in its response on September 6, said 48 prisoners are yet to return. The reply also said 24 other released inmates were nabbed by the police and handed over to jail authority.
In Mandoli Central Jail Number 15, eighty-one inmates had been released on interim bail while 24 convicts given emergency parole.
When asked about the number of those who did not return, the jail authority replied on September 5, ''Nil''.
In an RTI response last month, the office of the Director General of Prisons, Tihar, which is considered to be one of the largest prison complexes in the world and houses nine central prisons, had said it has a capacity for 5,200 inmates, but 13,183 prisoners were lodged in its different central jails.Mandoli Jail, which has six central jails, has a capacity of 1,050 but 2,037 inmates were housed there. Rohini Jail, which has only one central jail, has a capacity of 3,776 but 4,355 inmates were lodged there in different cases.