Says many languish in jails as undertrials for years or remain unjustly incarcerated

Asserting that a large number of people, particularly minorities, languish in prisons as undertrials for years, or remain ‘unjustly incarcerated’, Press Council of India (PCI) chairperson Justice Markandey Katju has decided to set up a ‘Court of Last Resort’ to examine such cases.

“In such cases, the police either fabricates evidence or there is inadequate legal representation, or a court finds an accused innocent but after he has already spent years in prison,” he said in a statement earlier this week.

He noted that many such people were from the minority community because of ‘suspicions and preconceived notions that all persons of that community are terrorists’.

“Since 2001, a terrible maxim had seeped into the Indian mainstream; All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” It did not matter if innocent were caught as long as there was an illusion of ‘action taken’. This, in turn, was triggering ‘new cycles of hate and revenge’ and unless this was reversed, he warned, ‘we are heading for terrible times, as injustice breeds hatred and violence’.