- Apprentice Lawyer
The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice in a public interest (PIL) litigation petition seeking release of undertrial prisoners of lesser offences, who have undergone detention for a period extending up to half of the maximum punishment that can be imposed on them (India Undertrial Prisoners Support Forum vs GNCTD).
Notice to the Delhi government was issued by a Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Prateek Jalan.
The PIL preferred by India Undertrial Prisoners Support Forum (petitioner) sought implementation of the mandate of Section 436 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
As per the petitioner, in spite of the orders passed by the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court, there is non-action on the part of the authorities inasmuch as they have failed to conduct a "review" in relation to release of undertrials of lesser offences.
The petitioner asserted that the effective implementation Section 436 CrPC and courts' orders would not only protect rights of undertrial prisoners but also lead to decongestion of jails to a large extent
"..prisons in Delhi are overcrowded to twice its capacity and situation would further worsen if the immediate implementation of the directives is not undertaken.. implementing directives in terms of S. 436A and S.437(6) Cr.P.C would permanently solve problem of overcrowding of the jail," the petition said.
Th exact number of such undertrials is unknown, the petitioner submitted seeking a direction to Delhi State Legal Services Authority to provide such statistical information on its website, along with the number of bail applications applied and disposed of for such undertrials.
Direction was also sought to the Undertrial Review Committee and jail authorities to provide the status of undertrial prisoners on weekly basis in order to facilitate their release in terms of Section 436 CrPC.
The petition was filed through advocate Anubhav Taneja. Advocate Vishal Gosain appeared for the petitioner.
The matter would be heard next on January 24.