24% inmates in UP jails are Dalits, 45% OBCs as on 2021: Govt tells Parliament
As on 2021, there were 90,606 undertrial prisoners in the state of UP of which 21,942 belonged to SC community, 4,657 belonged to ST community and 41,678 belonged to OBC category
As many as 24% of the inmates in Uttar Pradesh’s jails were Dalits while 45% are Other Backward Classes (OBCs), the government told Parliament citing 2021 data.
Minister of state (MoS) Ajay Kumar Mishra was responding to a question raised by Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) member Shyam Singh Yadav, while listing other measures taken for the welfare of prisoners.
“As on 2021, there were 90,606 undertrial prisoners in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Out of these, 21,942 belonged to Scheduled Caste (SC) community, 4,657 belonged to Scheduled Tribe (ST) community and 41,678 belonged to OBC category,” said Mishra.
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The government also shared initiatives it has undertaken to stop undertrials from languishing in jail.
While pointing out that it was the responsibility of states, the Centre circulated the ‘Model Prison Manual 2016’, to raise awareness about facilities which may be provided to undertrials like plea bargains and legal aid.
The BSP MP had raised concerns about the prisoners in jails, including matters such as their trials, overcrowding of jails and prisoners belonging from the disadvantaged socio-economic groups that await trials.
“E-prisons software, a prison management application, is integrated with an interoperable criminal justice system that provides facility to the state Jail authorities to access the data of inmates in a quick and efficient manner, helping them in identifying the inmates whose cases are due for consideration by the under-trial review committee,” the home affairs ministry said.
The BSP MP further asked the home affairs ministry about the spike in the spread of communicable diseases in the prison, as the post-lockdown period saw an increase in the number of arrests.
Replying on the same, the ministry responded that the state governments are competent in dealing with the issue of overcrowding of prisons.
The ministry added that the state government has made adequate provisions for extra barracks and additional jails for accommodating the prison inmates, according to the need and requirement.
“The State Legal Services Authorities have established Legal Service Clinics in jails, which provide free legal assistance to persons in need,” the ministry said.
According to the prison statistics of India report (2021), out of 5,54,034 prisoners, 4,27,165 of them, (76%), were undertrial prisoners.
The same report reveals the state of overcrowding in the prisons, the occupancy rates stood at 130.2% (2021), up from 118% in the previous year. 70.9% of the undertrial prisoners were confined for periods of up to 1 year, 13.2% had been confined for 1 to 2 years, 7.6% confined for 2 to 3 years, 2.7 % had been in jail for over 5 years, the report stated.
The home affairs ministry told Parliament that the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) also holds camps in jails to generate awareness about the availability of free legal aid, plea bargaining, lok adalats and legal rights of inmates, including their right to bail.