Delhi HC ‘pained’ by undertrials languishing in Tihar jail despite bail
The high court directed the judges of each district court who visit the Tihar Jail to ensure a list of undertrials who have been granted bail but could not be released is brought to the notice of the trial judge concerned.india Updated: Dec 17, 2017 11:40 IST
The Delhi High Court has said it is “pained” by undertrials languishing in Tihar Jail despite getting bail as they could not furnish a bond or surety due to poverty and issued a slew of directions to be followed by trial courts to ensure that such people get relief.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said several Supreme Court verdicts have held that fundamental rights of even a prisoner accused of serious offences cannot be overlooked under any circumstance.
The high court further said that even the Law Commission had recommended that risk assessments be carried out of undertrial prisoners, who languish in jail as they cannot fulfil bail conditions, so that they can be released.
The directions of the court came on a PIL filed by advocate Ajay Verma who contended that hundreds of people were languishing in Tihar Jail here, despite grant of bail.
“We are extremely pained that despite clear law laid down on the subject by the Supreme Court as well as clear statutory provisions and Law Commission recommendations, 253 undertrial prisoners are still languishing in Tihar Jail despite grant of bail which has necessitated this order,” the bench said.
The high court in its order directed the trial courts to be more sensitive and vigilant about such cases and to undertake a review of the reasons as to why an undertrial could not be released on bail.
The bench said the trial court can then carry out a risk assessment of the undertrial and thereafter, modify the bail conditions, if required.
It directed the judges of each district court who visit the Tihar Jail to ensure a list of undertrials who have been granted bail but could not be released is brought to the notice of the trial judge concerned.
The district judges have been also directed to submit a report of the risk assessments carried out by the trial courts apart from verifying the list of 253 undertrials given by the Delhi government and to review any other pending cases of prisoners who could not secure release despite grant of bail.
The list of 253 undertrials was placed before the bench by Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra.
The jail authorities were also directed by the high court to promptly bring such cases to the attention of the trial courts and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA).
The bench listed the matter on January 31, 2018 for filing the reports indicating compliance of its directions.
The PIL blamed the lower courts for not exercising the option of personal bond for financially unstable prisoners and said it was misuse of discretionary powers by the judicial system.