The much-publicised speedy trial of cases has been inordinately delayed in Bihar, as a large number of hardcore criminals manage to avoid court appearances by feigning one disease or the other, sometimes even fatal, as reasons.
“It is appalling that lawbreakers have been allowed to hold the justice system hostage on health grounds. They desperately scramble to find one disease or the other as excuses so that they can postpone proceedings against them. It has been found, that illness is normally passed down when it is time for them to face a prison sentence,” an official of the home (prisons) department told HT.
The official said, some jail doctors declared under-trial prisoners ‘sick’ even in case of minor diseases particularly on the date of their appearances. “It is administratively undesirable, as it causes delay in disposal of pending cases,” the official said.
To cope with the situation, the state government has decided to set up monitoring cells in each districts to keep a watch on the progress of the speedy trial cases and maintain a record of sickness of prisoners facing speedy trials.
Home secretary Amir Subhani has issued a directive to all DMs and SPs to set up such cells and hold meeting every month to review the progress of speedy trial cases. He has also asked jail superintendents to maintain a record of sickness of prisoners facing speedy trials and send the report to the IG prisons every fortnight.
“The doctors should ensure that such prisoners, who are not seriously ill and are in a position to walk, are sent to the courts for appearancesunder medical observation,” the official said.
The government has asked the DMs and the district prosecution officers to submit a list of accused persons facing speedy trial to the jail superintendents in the first week of every month. “The jail doctors will ensure, that such under-trial prisoners do not avoid court appearances or ‘fake’ sicknesses,” the directive said.
The government has directed the jail authorities to lodge an FIR against a prisoner, in case he mounted undue pressure or threatened the jail doctor to declare him sick. “The doctor should immediately bring it to the notice of the jail superintendent and send copies to the DM, SP and IG prisons,” the home secretary said.