HC seeks info from Tihar Jail on undertrials

The Delhi High Court directed the Tihar jail authority to furnish information on the total number of undertrials lodged.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Tihar jail authority to furnish information on the total number of undertrials lodged there following a PIL seeking framing of a policy to grant bail to prisoners facing trial for petty offences as the prison is over-crowded.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw directed the jail authority to file the affidavit by December 20, specifying the total number of
undertrials lodged in jail and the type of cases in which they have been booked.

The bench was hearing a PIL filed by lawyer Vijay Aggarwal saying "undertrials constitute a whopping 67 per cent of the total prison population in India. There are 2,57,928
under trial prisoners in India."

The petition sought formulation of a policy under which the release of prisoners, serving seven years of imprisonment for the offence of cheating and forgery, be considered.

The persons, who are in jail during the trial for such offences, be also released on bail if they are in jail for more than a year, the lawyer said.

"The present system shows injustice, discrimination and violations of constitutional right which these undertrials suffer on account of the administration of the laws and rules,
comprising the universal justice system in the country in a completely arbitrary and constitutionally impermissible manner," Aggarwal said.

According to the petitioner, the government should change the rules pertaining to grant of parole to prisoners.

To dispel the apprehension that a person may flee after being released on bail, GPS system can be used to track the movement of an accused, the petition said.

The plea for bail should be considered favourably of persons undergoing seven years of imprisonment and also prisoners, who have spent more than one year in prison for offence of cheating and forgery, should be released, it said.


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