With a key amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code on the release of a certain category of undertrials becoming law, the Government on Thursday said the prosecution would start moving courts to seek freedom for prisoners who have completed more than half the prison terms prescribed for offences committed by them.
This follows President APJ Abdul Kalam giving assent to the CrPC Amendment Bill 2005 and it being notified by the Union Home Ministry on Wednesday.
The amendment, passed by the Parliament last year, lays down that undertrials, other than those charged with an offence that could lead to death penalty, could be released from prison with or without sureties if they had undergone a jail term for more than half the prescribed punishment for the offence committed.
"The prosecution will now have to move the courts to seek the release of such undertrials as the law is now clear," a senior official said.
The new law also makes it clear that an undertrial could be released if he has stayed in prison beyond the maximum imprisonment he could have undergone for an offence.
According to available data, there are over two lakh undertrials in jails across the country and more than 50,000 of them could now be eligible for release.
The official said the cases of undertrials who were jailed for similar offences could even be clubbed by the directorates of prosecution in the states to allow quicker action.