The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to examine the report given by an amicus curiae on the challenges faced by foreign prisoners lodged in jails in the national capital and to give its suggestions to improve their plight.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani asked the Ministry of External Affairs to go through the report of the amicus and give its suggestions by July 9, the next date of hearing.
Advocate Ajay Verma, appointed as amicus to assist the court in the matter, in his report has said that foreign national prisoners (FNPs) face various challenges, like delayed trial, difficulty in getting bail and understanding court proceedings due to language issues.
He has said, in his report, that FNPs faced difficulty in getting bail as trial courts were concerned that being a foreigner they may jump bail and it would be difficult to trace them and make them available for trial.
He has said that FNPs, lodged in jails here, told him that Indians who are co-accused in the same case as them are more often able to secure bail and this promotes a feeling of discrimination amongst the foreigners.
Verma has urged the court to "pass directions or guidelines after taking inputs from respondents (government and prisons) to guide the trial courts in this regard.
"It is also requested that in case the FNPs are not granted bail their cases may be expedited."
The FNPs had also raised the concern that after their arrest, there is delay in their concerned embassies being informed about the same, the report has said.
The amicus has requested the court to issue necessary directions to ensure police officials are made aware and trained about the mandatory requirements to inform the embassies after arrest of a foreign national.
The FNPs had also told the amicus, during his interaction with them, that due to differences in language and customs, they fail to undertstand "the functioning of the judicial process, including but not limited to the charges for arrest, the process of investigation, trial and the consequences of what such a process entails for the concerned FNP".
"Unless, such information or knowledge is passed onto the concerned FNP in his native language, chances remain that he / she would remain ignorant of his / her rights thereby defeating the very essence of justice, equity and conscience. Many informed that during trial they did not understands the proceedings," the report has said.
Verma has further said that in such a situation it would be just to provide a certified translator to the concerned FNP either from their concerned embassy or from the state itself.
The court was hearing a PIL initiated by it after receiving a letter from foreign women inmates regarding denial of bail and proper phone call facility to them.
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