SC asks states for info on poor undertrials

1 month ago 25

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NEW DELHI: As many poor undertrial prisoners are languishing in jail despite being granted bail because of not being able to furnish bail bond, the Supreme Court on Tuesday took note of their plight and directed the states to furnish information of such prisoners.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka is exploring ways to help out the prisoners who are languishing in jail for many years while waiting for the trial to be completed or their appeal to be heard by HCs. Three young lawyers - Liz Mathew, Gaurav Agrawal and Devansh A Mohta - who were appointed amicus curiae by the court are assisting the bench in the mammoth task to collect all the data from each state and analyse with the help of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) to extend helping hands to such prisoners.
The court's endeavour assumes significance as President Droupadi Murmu recently appealed to the judiciary to devise ways to help such prisoners to come out of jail instead of spending their lives behind bars. Highlighting that the poor people are forced to languish in jail for years and their family members also do not initiate the legal battle to get them out of jail due to limited financial resource, she said the judiciary should help them out.
Noting that the prison authorities in Maharashtra and the Tata Institute of Social Science are working on a plan to secure release of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails due to their inability to meet the bail conditions set by courts, the bench said such steps could be taken across the country. On the suggestion of amicus curiae, the bench directed states to provide information of such prisoners in their states to NALSA within 15 days. It said it would examine the data and would pass an appropriate order on the next date.
The court also directed the states to adopt ePrison model where all information pertaining to prisoners is uploaded on prison web portal and it would facilitate easy compliance of the timelines directed by the court. It asked the states to do the needful within two months and file a compliance report.
The court decided to intervene to help out prisoners after noting that some of the convicts spent over two decades in UP jails while waiting for their appeal to be heard by Allahabad HC and there was no chance their plea would be decided in near future.

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