HC issues notice to Delhi govt on PIL seeking to expedite bail review of undertrial prisoners

ANI
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New Delhi [India], January 4 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Undertrial Review Committee to expedite the review of bail under section 436A for undertrial prisoners.

The plea sought a direction to the release of those under trial prisoners and have spent half of their maximum sentence for lower offences.

Division Bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan on Monday after hearing the submission issued notice to the Delhi Government and slated the matter for January 22.

The petitioner, India Undertrial Prisoner Support Forum through Advocate Vishal Gosain and Advocate Neeha Aggarwal also sought the issuance of direction to the Undertrial Review Committee and Jail Superintendent to verify the undertrial prisoners facing trial under multiple charges but have undergone sentence in lesser charge to be put in the category of prisoners to be released on bail.

According to the petition, due to COVID-19 situation the Undertrial Review Committee has not been able to meet its duties for release of the undertrial prisoners who have completed half of the maximum sentence in the minimum offence.

The lack of such is due to non-implementation of the mandate as encapsulated by Supreme Court and Delhi High Court time to time in letter and spirit, the plea said.

The Plea further added that the holding capacity at 16 Jails which are located at Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini a capacity of 10,026 prisoners is only viable.

"Currently the prison population has touched its peak with 17,440 inmates out which 14355 are UTPs. If no further steps are taken the population of the jail is like to touch beyond 21,000 prisoners by the end of 2020. It is submitted that UTRC in Delhi has till September 2020 reviewed only 1,024 cases for considering them under the mandate and guidelines of Supreme Court and Delhi High Court out which only 416 people have been released," it said.

"Wherein the number of people who are eligible and have completed half of their maximum sentence is around 1,205. Moreover, petitioner stress that the number of prisoners who have completed half of its minimum sentence would be more than a number which is provided to UTRC," it added. (ANI)