223 undertrials could not be produced before courts in October
It has been over two months that a person, who was arrested on allegation of stealing a bucket, has been waiting in the Mangalore district prison for his turn to be produced before the designated magistrate court. With lack of police escorts, his production before the court is being delayed. This may have affected his right to get bail.
There is another person, who has been arrested for alleged theft of iron rods, who has not been produced before the jurisdictional magistrate court for over a year. These are many such undertrials in the District Prison who are bearing with the delayed hearing of their cases because of non-production before the court.
According to the statistics provided by the Prison Department, 223 persons could not be produced before the courts in October. Similarly 193 persons were not produced in September. “Production of undertrials depends on the availability of escorts. On an average only 80 per cent of the persons are taken to the court in a day,” said a Prison Official. Absence of police escorts led to non-production of as many as 18 persons before a magistrate court in Sullia on Friday, he said.
Advocate Satish Kumar Bantwal said failure to produce the arrested persons before the courts led to other complications in addition to denial or delayed bail. He explained that in a given case, where accused persons are many, some could have been released on bail and others still lodged in jail. Those on bail would attend the court proceedings on a regular basis whereas those in jail are not produced. The absence of all the accused persons at the same time would delay the trial. On his part, the prison official said the prison department is trying to prioritise production of undertrials. Preference, he said, was being given for production before sessions courts. The problem faced because of the lack of police escorts for undertrials in the Mangalore prison was no different situation in other parts of the State. As many as 281 undertrials are lodged in the Mangalore Prison as on Friday, he said.
Video conferencing facility between the District Court and the district prison, which was supposed to ensure regular production, has failed to work since it was installed in 2010. “Initially the problem was at the court end. We got it fixed. But now there is a problem at our end as lightning damaged computer systems,” the official said. A proposal has been sent to the Prisons Department seeking funds for restoring it. Moreover, they are yet to set aside space for the facility in the new prison inaugurated in November, he said.