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Law Minister calls for release of undertrials who have completed 50% of their sentences

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Rajya Sabha on November 28, 2019. Photo: RSTV/PTI

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad speaks in the Rajya Sabha on November 28, 2019. Photo: RSTV/PTI  

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said in Rajya Sabha that he has appealed to chief justices of High Courts to ensure expeditious trial and release undertrials who have completed half of their sentences.

In a reply during the Question Hour, he said: “I have written to the chief justices of the high courts. Undertrial prisoners who under 436 A have completed 50% or more of the detention, they should be released. There is a review committee for it. The court has to take the decision.”

Replying to a supplementary, he said the government’s role is to provide infrastructure for speedy trial.

He further said for speedy disposal of cases related to crime against women and others, 704 fast-track courts have been set up.

“For crimes like rape, women-related violence and those under POCSO Act, we have proposed 1,023 fast-track courts. Sixteen states have accepted the proposals. It has been agreed upon to establish 420 courts and 121 have started functioning,” he said.

To ensure speedy trial of cases, the government has made 469 appointments in high courts in the last 5.5 years.

Mr. Prasad said about 5,000 posts of subordinate judiciary are vacant and neither the Centre nor the States have any role in filling up these vacancies.

He added: “It falls under purview of either High Court or Public Service Commission. We have written repeatedly to the Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of High Courts to take steps.”

Mr. Prasad said as per the National Crime Records Bureau, a total of 1.52 lakh criminal cases relating to crime against women have been disposed of during 2017.

He said the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act has been enacted making the punishment for offence like rape more stringent by including death penalty for rape of a girl below the age of 12 years.

He said the Act also inter alia mandates completion of investigation and trial within two months each.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 5:59:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/law-minister-calls-for-release-of-undertrials-who-have-completed-50-of-their-sentences/article30189136.ece

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