HC Seeks Delhi Govt's Stand on Bail of UTPs Who Have Served Half of Their Max Sentence Lessor Offences
File photo of Delhi High Court
The trust, represented by advocates Vishal Gosain and Neeha Nagpal, told the bench that the Supreme Court had in 2015 and 2016 ordered setting up of a Undertrial Review Committee (UTRC) to consider cases of UTPs who were entitled to benefit of section 436A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which provides the maximum period for which a UTP can be detained.
- PTI New Delhi
- Last Updated: January 04, 2021, 19:31 IST
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The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of the AAP government on a PIL for releasing on bail those undertrial prisoners (UTPs) who have served more than half of the maximum sentence which would be awarded to them if convicted for the lesser of the multiple offences they are facing trial. A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan issued notice to the Delhi government and sought its stand on the plea by a trust, India Undertrial Prisoner Support Forum, which has contended that granting bail to such UTPs would be a long term solution for decongesting the jails in the national capital which are presently housing prisoners nearly double their actual capacity. The trust, represented by advocates Vishal Gosain and Neeha Nagpal, told the bench that the Supreme Court had in 2015 and 2016 ordered setting up of a Undertrial Review Committee (UTRC) to consider cases of UTPs who were entitled to benefit of section 436A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) which provides the maximum period for which a UTP can be detained.
According to section 436A of CrPC, "where a person has, during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial of an offence under any law (not being an offence for which the punishment of death has been specified as one of the punishments under that law) undergone detention for a period extending up to one-half of the maximum period of imprisonment specified for that offence under that law, he shall be released by the court on his personal bond with or without sureties". The trust, in its petition filed through advocate Anubhav Taneja, has sought implementation of section 436A of CrPC.
It has also sought a direction to UTRC to expedite review of bails for UTPs under section 436A of CrPC, claiming that a "large number of undertrial prisoners who have completed half of the lesser sentence in multiple offences are endlessly languishing in jail and awaiting justice". It has contended that the actual number of UTPs who fall under the ambit of section 436A is not provided to the review committee by the prison authorities as is required under the standard operating procedure laid down by the National Legal Services Authority and adopted by the Supreme Court in its directions for UTRC.
The petition also contended that the holding capacity of the 16 jails in Delhi at Tihar, Mandoli and Rohini together was 10,026 prisoners, but they were housing 17,440 inmates out of which 14,355 were UTPs. It has further said that if steps are not taken, the inmate population is expected to exceed 21,000 once prisoners who were granted bail as an interim measure to decongest the jail start surrendering.