New Delhi: At a time when the coronavirus cases have crossed 2,000-mark in the state, the Maharashtra government on Tuesday decided to release around 50 per cent prisoners to decongest jails across the state. A decision to this effect was taken by the high-powered committee constituted by the state. Also Read - Maharashtra MLC Polls: Uddhav Thackeray Declares Assets Worth Rs 143 Crore, Does Not Own Car

The state government had formed the committee after the Supreme Court in March called for decongestion of prisons across the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. The state committee comprised of Bombay High Court Justice A A Sayed, Additional Chief Secretary of state Home department Sanjay Chahande and Maharashtra Director General Prisons S N Pandey. Also Read - Trending News Today May 11, 2020: 'He Was Our Guardian Angel': Maharashtra Villagers Name Locality After Irrfan Khan to Pay Tribute

As per updates, the prisoners from jails across the state will be released on temporary bail or parole. It has, however, not specified any time frame for the prison authorities to release these prisoners. Also Read - Maharashtra Legislative Council Election: Uddhav Thackeray Files His Nomination

“This would substantially decongest the prisons and about 50 per cent of prisoners out of the prison population of 35,239 are now expected to be released, the committee said in a statement.

The development comes after over 100 inmates and staff members of the Arthur Road Jail in central Mumbai tested positive for COVID-19 recently.

Issuing a statement, the committee said the prison authorities will follow due process of law before releasing the prisoners.

According to updates on Monday, the state has reported 1,230 new COVID-19 cases and 36 deaths, 20 in Mumbai alone, taking the overall case count to 23,401 and the number of fatalities to 868.

Out of the total coronavirus positive cases and deaths so far, Mumbai alone accounts for 14,521 cases and 528 fatalities.