SRINAGAR: Nearly 200 under-trial prisoners have been identified in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for release on bail as part of the campaign launched on the 75th year of independence of country and in order to unclog the prisons. The orders in this regard will be passed by the respective Principal District and Sessions Judges before August 13, reported Daily Excelsior.
According to report, the issue of under-trial prisoners was one of the moot points addressed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he spoke at the joint conference of the Chief Ministers and High Court Chief Justices in the month of April this year. He had appealed all the Chief Ministers and Chief Justices of the High Courts to give priority to the matters on basis of humanitarian sensibility and law.
Thereafter, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, in the month of June this year, issued a set of guidelines to the State and Union Territories on the grant of special remission to the prisoners to commemorate the 75th year of independence of the country. Even Chief Justice of India N V Ramana appealed the District Judicial Officers to intervene in securing much deserved relief for under-trials and Justice Uday U Lalit, Supreme Court Judge and Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority, announced plan to put in place legal aid system in this regard, said the reports.
Quoting reliable sources in the judiciary newspaper Daily Excelsior reported that a total of 374 under-trial prisoners and convicts were shortlisted in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for release on bail as part of “Ease of Justice” campaign but the respective District Under-Trial Review Committees have approved nearly 200 such prisoners by strictly following the 16-point criteria laid down in this regard.
Principal District and Sessions Judge of the district heads the District Under-Trial Review Committee while as Deputy Commissioner, Senior Superintendent of Police, Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority and Superintendent of the concerned prison act as members of the committee.
“The names of all these 200 under-trial prisoners have been submitted to the respective Principal District and Sessions Judge Courts which will pass formal orders of bail well before August 13,” the newspaper quoted sources as having said, adding “in the bail orders the Principal District and Sessions Judges will also spell out the conditions keeping in view the offence committed by the under-trial prisoners/convicts”.
The respective District Legal Services Authorities have already been told to take the responsibility of providing legal aid to these prisoners as these under-trial prisoners have been languishing in the jails for years together mainly for want of proper legal assistance as their family members were not in a position to afford the same, sources said, adding “the decision to release under-trial prisoners as part of campaign launched on the 75th year of independence of the country is going to give them a chance for reformation”.
“This Independence Day is surely going to be real independence for these under-trial prisoners and convicts as well as their family members who had virtually lost the hope of seeing the world outside the walls of the prisons once again,” they further said.
The under-trials/convicts identified by the District Under-Trial Review Committees for release on bail include those facing Section 436 CrPC, those released on bail by the courts but have not been able to furnish sureties, accused of compoundable offences, those who may be covered under Section 3 of the Probation of Offenders Act namely accused of offence under Section 379, 380, 381, 404, 420 IPC or alleged to have committed offence inviting imprisonment for not more than two years, those who have been detained under Chapter VIII of the CrPC—under Section 107, 108, 109 and 151 CrPC, those who are sick or infirm and require specialized medical treatment, women offenders, those who are first time offenders and fall in the age group of 19 to 21 years and in the custody for the offence punishable with less than 7 years of imprisonment and have suffered at least one-fourth of the maximum sentence possible.
These under-trial prisoners also include those who were granted bail by the courts during the pandemic and they have adhered to all the conditions of the bond and have either returned to the prison on the stipulated date or have regularly attended court on due hearings and those who are above 65 years of age, reported Daily Excelsior.