Delhi

Number of undertrials in Tihar on the rise

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Tihar Central Jail in Delhi has the highest number of undertrial prisoners in the country after Bihar, according to the National Crime Records Bureau data. The reasons, jail officials have found, are inability of prisoners to follow the trial procedure, which is in English, and low disposal of cases by judicial officers.

With 75 per cent prisoners being undertrials, Tihar is the most crowded jail in the country. The Tihar Jail officials have taken up the issue with the Delhi High Court recently, mentioning the increasing number of undertrials in the jail and the reasons for it.

“The comparison of the prison population during the last three years shows that there is a steady growth of prison population, particularly of the undertrials. There were 10,856 prison inmates as on December 31, 2010, which increased to 13,552 on December 31, 2013, and 14,537 in the year 2014,” said a prison official.

“The statistics further reveal that 200 undertrials are facing trial before the district Courts of Delhi for more than five years,” he added.

According to the jail officials, despite the Capital having the maximum number of judicial officers, the number of undertrials is huge. “We have raised a crucial point in our letter that despite the large number of judicial officers, the disposal rate is very less. This is ironical because the number of cases that a single judge in Delhi deals with is comparatively lesser than other States,” the official added.

“A number of representations, particularly from the young prisoners have been received mentioning their inability to understand the proceedings of trial as it is conducted in English language. They further point out that they have to just stand as mute spectators to the trial proceedings whenever witness is being examined or matter is being argued. Unfortunately, most of these prisoners are illiterate and belong to the marginalised/weaker section of society,” he said.

The officer also pointed out the fact the prisoners being from weaker section of the society are also unable to pay their bail bonds.

“These applicants have requested for the conduct of trial to be in Hindi as they will be able to understand and appreciate the trial proceedings which in turn will help in expeditious disposal of case,” he added.

The officials in their letter addressed to the High Court’s Chief Justice had requested to issue suitable directions to find out solution to the overcrowding problem particularly of undertrials.

“Speedy trials will restore faith of common people in the judicial process. I shall be grateful if some decision is also taken about the grievances of the prisoners for holding the trial in Hindi, so that prisoners are able to understand the proceedings which will also help in quick disposal of the cases,” former Tihar Director-General had written in her letter.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:40:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/number-of-undertrials-in-tihar-on-the-rise/article6675114.ece

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