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42 inmates who got bail released in past year, 600 languish in jails

The inmates have not been released since they do not have a bail bond or a guarantor vouching for them

mumbai Updated: Jun 04, 2018 00:24 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
Mumbai jail,Mumbai,Maharashtra
Most undertrials cannot afford the bail bond(HT Photo)

Around 42 of the 642 undertrials in Maharashtra who were granted bail, but were behind bars for years, have been released in the past year thanks to the efforts of NGOs and the need to reduce overcrowding in prisons.

Nearly 600 undertrials are still languishing behind bars despite being granted bail. Reason? According to a study by a five-member jail reform committee set up by the government in February 2017, the inmates have not been released since they do not have a bail bond or a guarantor vouching for them.

Director general of police (Prisons), Bipin Bihari said that authorities are working to address overcrowding in jails. “Overcrowding is the most important issue before us. A process has begun to release undertrials who have got bail,” said Bihari.

In 2017, the data collected stated that out of 5,780 undertrials who received a maximum punishment of less than seven years, 642 were granted bail. After the list was submitted to the prisons department, officials asked district commissioners to look for locals willing to stand surety for these inmates.

A team from the National Commission for Women (NCW), led by chairperson Rekha Sharma, which visited the Byculla Women’s Jail as part of its annual visit to all jails in India, observed that amenities at the jail and the sensitivity towards women had improved. However, Sharma previously did stress the need for an in-house gynaecologist and paediatrician for inmates and their children, efficient legal aid, a crèche facility and a policy for pregnant women.

“We met undertrials who were suffering prolonged detention despite being granted bail as they had no financial means to pay for bail bonds or get proper legal aid,” said Sharma.

Vijaya Rahatkar, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, agreed to the same saying that she has asked the prisons department to submit a proposal before the commission to start a corpus fund of ₹1.5 crore to help prisoners lodged in jail because of their inability to pay the bail amount.

First Published: Jun 04, 2018 00:24 IST