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Overcrowding due to increasing crimes or fail in judicial trails

By Dipra Chattree, B.M. Law College, Jodhpur.


The coming up of old age problem, overcrowding. ‘Prisoners are also humans not animals.’ the Honorable Supreme court mentioned, after observing a serious issue of overcrowding leading to inhuman conditions of prisoners in cells by violation of international human rights. Supreme court ordered Chief justices of High courts to take up the matter as a Suo motu writ petition.

According to recent data the total capacity of Indian jails is about 4.25 lakh where as the occupancy is of 5.54 lakh.


CAUSES 1. Pendency of cases – most of the prisoners locked up are undertrial, they didn’t get bailed and cases are pending. As, of 2024 51 million pending cases with no bail to accused. (87% on district level) making it even worse.

2. Rise in registration of cases – an estimated study where total of 10911090 civil matters and 33829785 criminal matters are filled each year, adding up to pressure of judiciary.

3. Lack of efficiency – many fast-track courts were established for speedy disposal yet; no significant changes were seen in efficiency and process.

4. False cases – people for many reasons like personal rivalry or for extortion of money register false cases which are indeed non bailable offences. Like 8% of rape cases so reported were false in nature

5. Increase in crime rate – due to rise in population, less employment and illiteracy leads to uncivilized society with increase crime rates. There has been increase from 383.5 in 2018 to 385.5 by National Crime Record Bureau.

6. Arrest for petty crimes – to extort money, many corrupted police officers along with citizen demand high sum for release and till then person is kept behind bars even for petty crimes.


STEPS

1. The 8-point guideline By Supreme court issued in a landmark judgment of the inhuman condition in prison:

A. The undertrial review committee to ne set up in every district, which should meet every quarter.

B. The committee will into aspects pertaining to effective implementation of section 436 and section 436 (a) of CR.PC. so that prisoners are released at the earliest, and those who cannot furnish bail bonds due to poverty and not subjected to incarceration only for that reason.

2. The 68 parliamentary committee has suggested using digital technology for prisoners on parole that an ankle tracking device to be worn by prisoners on bail.

3. The vacancies of officers in jail should be filled up within 3 months, like the post of welfare officers. This will help in better management and administration.

4. Fast disposal of criminal cases in CR. PC. 1963 by Criminal law amendment act 2005: The concept of plea bargaining has been added.

• In CR. PC. Section 436: If any person has committed bailable offence then he will be kept in jail for only seven days.

• CR. PC. Section 436 (a): Person Undertrial has a right of getting bail if he/she has served the maximum punishment as in comparison to the offence, so committed. Yet this section is not applicable on people who have been sentenced for life imprisonment and capital punishment

• CR. PC. Section 167: States police have to file chart sheet within 90 days if the prescribed punishment of offence is life imprisonment or more than ten years. In other cases, where limit is of 60 days and investigation is not completed within limit. Then the undertrial person can get bail.

5. Open prisons: Established by the center, steps were taken to encourage setting up of open prison and a model reform rule for the administration of open correctional institutions have already been framed.

• The open prison is the concept also being used internationally. It relatively has less stringent also known as minimum security prison, open air camps or prison without bars. The fundamental rule of open prison is that the jail has minimum security and functions on the self-discipline of the inmates.

• These are basically for prisoners who commit petty crimes

• The United Nations standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners popularly known as Nelson Mandela rules laid down the objective of same, stating that such prison provided no physical security against escape but rely on the serve discipline of the inmates provided the condition most favorable to the rehabilitation of carefully selected prisoners.


NEED OF REFORM

1. A NHRC figure show prisoners cut off from family and friends had 50% more chances of committing suicide than those of outside the average suicide rate. Suicide rate in jails is 16.9 per whereas, the average suicide rate is 11 per lakh. Average suicide rate in jails is over 50% more than the normal conditions.

2. Jails as university of hard-core criminals, due to lack of space separation of heinous criminals from petty criminals is a very challenging situation as this make hard for prisoners to live due to frustration and increase in violence within jails.

3. Lack of human condition, no necessary facilities are available to them leads to worsening of physical and medical health.


Basically, the responsibility is of the state government, but due to hype in the issue, the center government has set up various committees from time to time to recommend modernization of the presence.

There is no as such media coverage upon the issue because unfortunate people face these problems, but it is a matter of Humanitarian rights or human condition we need to focus on same as much we can

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Such an insightful publication

Like

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