The Supreme Court on Friday ordered the release of all undertrial prisoners who have spent half of the maximum sentence prescribed for the offences they are charged with.
The latest ruling have brought much relief to the families of the prisoners, who are languishing in the jails because they are unable to pay sureties and bail bond to get out of jails. The court has also directed the trial court judges to visit jails starting from October 1 to identify the undertrials who have already spent half of the maximum sentence and asked the judicial officers to complete the task within two months. Lawyers need not be present while judicial officers take decision for release of prisoners and the officers would have to submit the report to the Registrar General of the concerned High Court and thereafter to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court. More than two lakh undertrials would be relieved to be out of the jail soon but would have to remain out on bail and face the trial.
The order from the apex court came while hearing a petition on foreign prisoners still in Indian jails much beyond their maximum punishment. The practice of imprisoning the prisoners for reasons fabricated and without proper evidence repudiating all the human rights has been going on for a long time. By the time they are released after finding out they were innocents, half of their lifetime would be expired. The loss is irreparable and cannot be compensated even with money. The extremely sluggish legal system is to be blamed and it needs a complete reformation in order to meet the expectations of the citizens. The authorities framing the innocents into prisoners neglecting the legal boundaries for petty personal and political interests should be brought into light. The prisoners should be made aware of their legal rights and the age old practice of prolonging the trials unnecessarily should be eliminated. Human rights commission also has a role in prolonging the hearings when they should have fought for the rights of the innocents. The latest ruling of the Supreme Court surely brings hope and respite but only with swift and efficient trial process.