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Updated: February 28, 2014 12:08 IST

Tihar Jail authorities plan to release undertrials who have served their terms

Kritika Sharma
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A prisoner walks out of the Tihar Jail after his sentence was relaxed on Independence Day last year. File Photo
The Hindu A prisoner walks out of the Tihar Jail after his sentence was relaxed on Independence Day last year. File Photo

Bringing a ray of hope to a large number of undertrial prisoners languishing in the Tihar Jail here, the authorities have started identifying those who have served their term but are still lodged in the complex.

Director General of Delhi Prisons Vimla Mehra said on Thursday that efforts have been initiated to identify those prisoners who have been in detention for more than half the prescribed period of imprisonment, adding that they are taking the help of the Delhi Legal Services Authority for this purpose.

Necessary action

“Once the process of identification is done, the final report will be forwarded to the Delhi Government to take necessary action. Ultimately, the power lies with the government. They can release the prisoners on personal bail bond as per the sanctioned law,” said Ms. Mehra.

Under section 436A CrPC – an amendment in the CrPC Amendment Act 2005 – an undertrial, other than someone accused of an offence for which the death penalty is prescribed, has to be released if he/she has been in detention for more than half the prescribed period of imprisonment.

The move could bring cheer to a large number of prisoners. A total of 10,154 inmates (74.93 per cent) out of 13,552 inmates lodged in the prison currently are undertrials. Last year, 8,887 prisoners (constituting 73.37 per cent) out of 12,113 were undertrials.

Also, there are many undertrials who languish in jails because they are too poor to pay for their bail bond.

Last year, a female prisoner – one of the winners of Tihar Idol competition – allegedly committed suicide as she did not have the money to pay for her bail bond. She was required to pay Rs. 30,000 for her bail, but could not arrange for it.

In view of that incident, the Director General said the Jail authorities would consider possible financial help for such prisoners with the help of NGOs.

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