New Delhi: Delhi High Court has expressed displeasure over the plight of 152 women undertrial prisoners, who have been languishing in Tihar jail for more than six months even though charges against them were not serious.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath asked the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to take necessary steps for their immediate release.
"It may be mentioned that the plight of the undertrial prisoners who have been languishing in prison without trial for a very long period has been taken note of by the Supreme Court as well as this court on several occasions and various directions have been issued from time to time.
"We are pained to notice that in spite of the said orders passed by the courts and the periodical visits made by the officials and panel advocates of the DSLSA, interaction with the inmates and Legal Services Clinics being organised in jail complex, many of the undertrial prisoners are in jail for more than six months even though charges are not for serious offences," the court said.
The court's observation came after it was informed by the Superintendent of Jail No.6, Tihar Jail, that there are 105 women undertrial prisoners who are facing charges other than murder, rape, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).
It was also informed that there are 47 women undertrial prisoners who have completed half of the period of sentence in lesser offence in case of multiple offences.
The Tihar Superintendent has further stated that as per the statistics of December 31, 2014, about 43 per cent of women prisoners are illiterate and majority of them are from low income strata of the society.
Taking the same on record, the bench said that keeping in view that the "Undertrial Review Committees" have already been constituted in all the districts of Delhi in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court issued in April 2015, "we issue the directions with regard to the 105 women undertrial prisoners and 47 women undertrial prisoners".