Gurugram techie jailed for 13 months develops software to make prisons high-tech
Once a techie, always a techie. And so, when software engineer Amit Mishra was jailed in Haryana’s Gurugram for 13 months in connection with his wife’s suicide he got busy developing a software to make Indian jails hi-tech.
A year on, when Mishra walked out of Bhondsi jail after proving his innocence, he found himself much in demand by jail authorities across Haryana after the success of his software, Phoenix — a prison management system software.
On Monday, the Supreme Court acknowledged the efficacy of Mishra’s software, seeking his assistance in ensuring that life convicts could exercise their legal right of early release after serving 14 years in jail.
An SC bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hemant Gupta noted that the feasibility of Mishra’s software should be explored by states so as to have a uniform platform where statistics relating to the inmates can be stored digitally for suitable actions.
“One of the detenus/convicts in Haryana, Shri Amit Mishra, prepared a software which the State of Haryana itself thought is worth implementing and is supposed to be quite comprehensive. The feasibility of adopting that on a country-wide basis with modifications, if any, can also be explored,” stated the court order.
The idea to seek Mishra’s assistance was put forth by amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal, who was assisting the court in framing guidelines on a way to ensure that the convicts entitled to a remission could move their requests immediately after completing 14 years, with authorities then deciding on the request in a time-bound manner too.
According to the law, people sentenced to life imprisonment are jailed for the rest of their lives. However, the law allows the state government and jail authorities to consider the release of convicts, based on their behaviour, after a minimum jail-term of 14 years.
Agrawal told the bench about Mishra and his software Phoenix. “All the records of the prisoners, including their addresses, period of sentence served and remaining, are available to the jail authorities on a real time basis. I suggest such a software should be installed in all jails,” he submitted.
Agrawal added that he met Mishra a few years ago and was impressed by the improvement in the management and administration of the jail after use of this software. At this, the bench told Agrawal to seek Mishra’s help to come up with a system where prisoners’ pleas for early release can be filed without inordinate delays. The court will hear the case next on April 19.
Mishra said: “It will be a privilege to assist the court. The software I developed is presently used by 19 jails in Haryana, 38 jails in Rajasthan, 31 jails in UP and 13 jails in Himachal Pradesh. Use of this software will definitely serve the ends of justice for the inmates, apart from streamlining the administration of jails.”