Delhi HC seeks status report on women undertrial prisoners in jail

A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also asked the Delhi government to submit a report regarding the problems faced by these women undertrials.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday expressed displeasure on women undertrial prisoners languishing in jails despite undergoing detention for half of their terms and asked DSLSA to file a status report specifying the reasons why they have been not released.

A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath also asked the Delhi government to submit a report regarding the problems faced by these women undertrials.

"Why are the women undertrial prisoners not being released despite of earlier directions? What are the steps taken for their release? You (DSLSA) file a status report as how many of them are still languishing in jail and how many of them are released. What is their present status and why they are not being released with reasons," the bench said.

The bench also asked the Delhi government to file a report as when did the 'Undertrial Review Committee' comprising the District and Sessions Judge as Chairperson, deputy commissioner of police and the district magistrate/ deputy commissioner as members had last met and what were the decisions taken.

Senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government, said that 1072 undertrial prisoners at Tihar Jail have been identified who have been undergoing sentences for petty offences but the trial courts are not granting them bail for various reasons.

The bench asked both Delhi government and Delhi State Legal Service Authority (DSLSA) to file their status reports by next date of hearing and said it will pass a detail order in this regard.

Mehra said that out of the 105 women undertrial prisoners so far only 51 have been released and out of the 47 inmates who are entitled for the benefit under provisions of law only 21 have been released by the courts so far.

The court was hearing a matter on the plight of women inmates in the jail, an issue brought to its attention by Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph in a letter, which was later turned into a PIL.

The court took suo motu cognisance of the plight of 612 women inmates who have served half their maximum jail term without completion of trial and had agreed to hear the matter, saying "the issue is of great concern."


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