Expressing concern over a large number of undertrial prisoners lodged in various jails across the country, the Supreme Court has called for taking urgent steps to release them from jails.
The apex court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on condition of undertrials prisoners in 1382 jails across the country.
The number of undertrials prisoners in the entire country constitutes more than 67 percent of the prisoners, due to which prisons are highly overcrowded. "Number of undertrial prisoners are very high and urgent steps are quite clearly and obviously necessary to release them from jails," observed the bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur.
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) informed the apex court that it has framed guidelines in form of Standard Operating Procedure for the undertrial review committee. The top court was also informed that the number of undertrials is very high in jails of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Maharashtra due to which jails particularly in these states are overcrowded.
The apex court has ordered that NALSA guidelines should be circulated to all Director General of Prisons and state legal service authorities. The bench has also directed the review committee to dispose of more cases of undertrial prisoners in the first few months of 2019 and submit its report to NALSA.
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