Sunday, February 5, 2023

Supreme Court directs states to ask jail authorities for providing data on undertrials due to non fulfilment of bail condition

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The Supreme Court of India has ordered all the States to issue directions to jail authorities for providing data on undertrials languishing behind bars due to non-fulfilment of bail conditions.

The Bench comprising of Justice SK Kaul and Justice Abhay S Oka called for such data to be represented in a chart within 15 days.

The court in its order said that National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) along with Home Ministry will collect the data relating to number and status of pending applications of premature release filed by life convicts.

The Court said that the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) is also undertaking a similar exercise in Maharashtra, so the help can be taken from them as well the institute’s assistance may also be taken.

Talking about the E-prison modules, the Court said that although it is functioning well in all jails in Karnataka. The legal aid is not yet accessible through this initiative, as the portal is yet to be to be hosted.

Gaurav Agarwal, the amicus Curiae had suggested e-prison to have system for accessing bail and acquittal orders but court said needs some time.

The Court also appreciated the three Amici, Senior Advocate Neeraj Kumar Jain with advocates Devansh Mohta and Liz Mathew, assisting in the matter for doing good work.

The Court hearing petitions that suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) that the top court initiated to devise a policy strategy for granting bail in cases where appeals of trial court convictions have been long pending.

One of the appellants in the instant case had moved the top court earlier this year after his criminal appeal from 2012 was kept pending by the Allahabad High Court even as his bail was rejected in 2019.

The Bench had then emphasised that the aim of the exercise was to identify cases that are fit for grant of bail or remission for those who have been behind bars for a long period of time.

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