The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has said that around 11,077 undertrials have been released from prisons nationwide as part of the mission to decongest jails following the COVID-19 pandemic.
NALSA said it had been providing assistance to prisoners who were eligible to be released on parole or interim bail under the relaxed norms, through its panel lawyers.
“In most of the cases, their bail applications are being filed through legal aid counsel. Similarly, necessary assistance is being provided to the convicts. Till now, responses received from 232 districts reflect that around 11,077 undertrials and 5,981 convicts have been released,” NALSA said.
It said the local legal services authorities are actively assisting the high-powered committee, constituted in pursuant to the order of the Supreme Court, for identifying undertrials who could be released on bail during the present scenario.
Through its legal aid helpline numbers, particularly the national legal aid helpline number 15100, NALSA said its legal services authorities were regularly receiving calls.
“Most of the calls pertain to shortage of food, migrant labourers stranded at places away from their home State, denial of wages, victims of violence etc. These problems are being addressed by the legal services authorities through workforce consisting of panel lawyers and para legal volunteers in close co-ordination with the district administration,” NALSA said.
The para legal volunteers are also reaching out to remote areas and coordinating with the district administration and local members to help distribution of food and masks.