Lawyers provide free legal aid to needy undertrials languishing in jails | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times

Lawyers provide free legal aid to needy undertrials languishing in jails

Mar 10, 2024 11:03 AM IST

Lawyers provide free legal aid to needy undertrials languishing in jails

These lawyers, as part of NGO 'Dard se Humdard Tak', have helped the undertrials secure bail, arrange for their bail bond, and facilitated the release of those arrested in petty crimes cases such as robbery, mobile theft, etc after having spent considerable time in jail, advocate Prakash Salsingikar told PTI.

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They visit jails across the state after having received permission from the state government and collect data of prisoners who need their services.

The organisation has come to the aid of more than 500 prisoners in the last three years, claimed Salsingikar who is working along with 20 other lawyers to provide such services.

Their organisation was registered as an NGO in May 2023, he said.

The lawyers visit the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai thrice a week, the Thane jail and Pune's Yerwada prison twice a week and the Byculla womens' prison here once a fortnight.

They meet the prisoners, study their case papers and provide assistance accordingly.

Salsingikar said majority of the undertrials fail to get proper legal assistance either due to non-awareness of remedies available to them under the law or because of their poor financial condition.

A woman, who is mother of two daughters, spent more than four years in a jail here for allegedly killing her husband after being forced to conceive again.

She came across this organisation and with the help of its lawyer, secured bail from the Bombay High Court earlier this year.

"I did not get any help from outside until I came across this NGO. I am educated so I spent the time in jail doing office work but life for many others is very difficult," she said.

Fayal Sheikh, a daily wage labourer from Mankhurd in Mumbai, spent two years in jail after he was arrested for allegedly killing a man with whom he had an altercation with over urination.

His mother said they had lost all hope until lawyers from this organisation got in touch with them and fought his case.

Sheikh was granted bail in October last year by a sessions court which noted that the cause of the man's death was not injuries suffered in the altercation but due to pre-existing medical conditions.

Another 31-year-old labourer from Thane, Suraj Tevar, spent more than two years in prison following a scuffle with a man over sleeping space on a footpath. He got bail in December last year.

Advocate Ganesh Nagargoje from the NGO brought to the court's notice the medical report of the complainant to point out that his injuries were simple in nature. He argued that the victim (complainant) was also under the influence of alcohol.

In another such case, Maruti Pingale, 36, had come to Mumbai from a village in Amravati for sight-seeing. He was arrested for allegedly winking at a girl and spent nine months in jail before he was acquitted by the trial court.

"Most of such accused persons have been in jail for so many years and no one has come forward to help them. They are approaching us, now we are continuously working for them and our effort will continue in future too," Nagargoje said.

Advocate Aniruddh Yadav, who appeared for Pingale in the court, said when they join this field, they know it is a noble profession through which they can help people.

"There are cases where people from other states like West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, etc get arrested for someone else's crime as they are unable to present their side because of language issues. Through the NGO, we have got an opportunity to help such people," Yadav added.

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