24 April, New Delhi
Supreme Court said on Friday that the poverty of a person who has been granted bail should not come in the way of his release from incarceration merely because one is unable to furnish the bail bond.
“Poverty can’t be a ground for keeping in custody an accused who is unable to furnish the bail bond” on account of his poverty, said the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit as it noted that a large number of persons were languishing in the jail as they could not furnish bail bonds after the grant of bail.
Stating the law has to be carried out in its spirit, the court asked the State Legal Aid Authorities to ask lawyers on their penal to “urgently” move necessary applications for securing the release of such people.
The court noted that in Uttar Pradesh alone there are 530 accused languishing in custody as they could not satisfy the condition of bail.
The court order came in the course of the hearing of reference on inhuman conditions in 1382 jails in the country.
Describing as “very high” that the 67 percent of the jail inmates were under trial, the court referring to the union home ministry’s affidavit said that as on December 31, 2013 there were 2,78,000 persons in the jails across the country.
The court also said that prisoners accused of compoundable offences too should be taken up by the state legal service authorities and the under trial prisoners who have completed half of the sentence that they would undergo if convicted of the offences they have been charged with should be considered by a committee for release in accordance with Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The court said that the Committee comprising the district judge, district magistrate and district superintendent of police will hold its meeting on June 30, 2015, to review all such cases.
The court further said that in case a person is accused of more than one crime, then to meet the requirement of Section 436A the charge that involves less punishment should be considered for examining the question of releasing him from the custody.
Asking the Bureau of Public Research and Development to review its 12 year old Model Prison Manual with an eye on latest technological changes, the court asked the union Home Ministry to look into the Prison Management System software being used in Delhi’s high security central prison at Tihar.
Noting that BPRD was already reviewing the Model Prison Manual, the court gave it three month time to complete the exercise.