Transparency law can bring relief to jail inmates.
The Maharashtra Information Commission in a landmark order has asked all jails in the state to put information regarding inmates in jails for more than 50% of the maximum imprisonment specified for the charge they were booked in public domain.
Section 463A of the criminal procedure code allows release of inmates on personal bond provided the person had been in jail for 50% of the maximum punishment prescribed for the charge he or she had been booked for.
“Despite protection in law there is no relief for them,” said former Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, who had filed an application with Maharashtra information commission in the regard. Most of such inmates come from poor or deprived backgrounds.
The reason is that many jails don’t maintain record of such inmates and thereby, their release on just a bond and not regular bail becomes a difficult exercise. The Maharashtra information office invoked clause 4 of the RTI Act and asked the jails in the state to display the list of such prisoners. The commission ordered that this information will have to be displayed on the website and also on the notice boards of the prisons before 12 May 2013.
Gandhi expects the other commissions to replicate the order of the Maharashtra commission and thereby providing relief to many inmates, most of whom are poor.