SC asks Centre to convene meet on undertrial prisoners languishing in jails

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to convene a meeting of Home

Last Updated: Aug 29, 2014, 13:11 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to convene a meeting of Home

Secretaries of all the states to discuss the issue of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails.

The directive came just days after Chief Justice of India RM Lodha expressed dissatisfaction with the criminal justice delivery system, saying the process has failed to an extent that it has become a punishment in itself.

CJI Lodha made the remarks in his Independence Day speech.

“A curious and tragic paradox is that our prisons house more undertrial prisoners than convicts. In almost all central prisons, more than 50 percent are undertrial prisoners; in district prisons more than 72 per cent are undertrial prisoners. The process itself has become a punishment. As head of judiciary, I cannot feel more pain than that,” the Chief Justice had said.

“Preferably, we should set a goal that no trial exceeds three years, and no appeal from a trial should take over a year,” he had added.

“I was shocked to learn that two lakh criminal trials are pending all over the country which are more than five years old and 40,000 trials are pending which are over 10 years old. In the Supreme Court by the end of the year, over 65,000 cases are pending. These are peanuts compared to what we are seeing all over the country,” Justice Lodha had further noted.