Bhubaneswar: Odisha government has now made it mandatory for Covid-19 testing of persons before producing them in front of magistrates for remand by police or other investigating agencies.
In view of the pandemic, the Home department has issued approved Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for implementing the protocol of remand to be followed while lodging an accused in jail.
Below are the details of the protocol:
1. Any person to be produced before magistrate for remand by the Police/ Excise/Forest/Vigilance authorities etc. shall first be screened or tested by medical officers for COVID-19 along with the mandatory medical examination in a designated hospital.
2. Medical officer of the designated hospital shall conduct thorough exanimation of those persons proposed to be remanded to jails and shall record that the person is asymptomatic or symptomatic to Covid-19.
3. Anybody found positive in this process, should be sent to the “Dedicated Covid Care Center/ Dedicated Covid Health Center / Dedicated Covid Hospital” by the concerned remanding agencies like police, forest. excise or vigilance as the case may be for treatment with the permission of remanding courts. They will be shifted to the jails after being recovered in ”Dedicated Covid Care Center/ Dedicated Covid Health Center / Dedicated Covid Hospital”.
4. Only those asymptomatic accused persons (to be declared by the medical officer of the designated hospital), shall be remanded to jails after being tested with Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and found “Negative”.
5. All newly remanded persons having COVID-19 negative reports shall be kept in prisons in isolation wards or quarantine wards in concerned district jails or sub jails within same revenue district (in case of overcrowding of any particular jail).
6. CDMOs of concerned districts will depute medical staff for random tests of prisoners at designated places (to be decided by district administration) for which SsP or DCPs shall provide police escort. In case any prisoner is detected as Covid positive, same prisoner shall be shifted to Dedicated Covid Care Center/ Dedicated Covid Health Center/ Dedicated Covid Hospital forthwith for which local Police shall provide police escort.
7. To avoid infection due to physical production, technology-based virtual production from jails may be considered with concerned courts.
8. If a Covid positive patient is required to be admitted in the Covid Facility, one escort shall be allowed to remain in the Covid Facility for safe custody of the prisoner as is done for non Covid prisoners. Such escort may be allowed to use PPE. After the discharge of the prisoner, the escort shall be quarantined for 14 days, either in home isolation (if separate room with attached toilet and a care giver is available) or may be kept in a Covid Care Center. Covid-19 Test shall be done on 14th day of isolation or quarantine.