Poor undertrials languishing in jails across India

Hyderabad: One of the basic principles of the criminal justice system is that the benefit of the doubt must always be extended in favour of the accused. “1000 culprits can escape, but, one innocent should not be punished”. Unfortunately, this is not the case in reality in India.

Some startling facts came to the fore in response to the Right to Information Act application submitted by Youth for Anti Corruption (YAC) – a city-based NGO.

This NGO has carried out a study of under-trial prisoners. The YAC Founder Rajendra Palnati said, “Many innocents are languishing in jails across the country waiting for justice.”

According to the RTI application submitted by Mani Deep and the reply given by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) more than 3 lakh cases are pending in different phases. Out of them, a total of 61,359 were freed till December 2019.

Most of these under-trial prisoners belonged to the poor and downtrodden sections of the society who were languishing in jails for more than 1 year.

This study also showed that the under-trial prisoners have to wait from 3 months to 2 years for obtaining bail.

These under-trial prisoners are languishing in jails due to lack of awareness and the absence of guarantors for their bails.

The YAC has requested the country’s courts to take note of this grave human rights violation and appealed to them to initiate Suo Moto proceedings for their release.

The legal team of the YAC will file public interest litigation (PIL) in the court of law for the fast expedition of the undertrials’ cases and to ensure justice for those prisoners who are languishing in jails across the country for years without trial.