Delay In Justice To Undertrials In Panjab, Due To Visit Of Vip'S
DELAY IN JUSTICE TO UNDERTRIALS IN PANJAB, DUE TO VISIT OF VIP'S
29 Dec 2008, 0531 hrs IST, TNN
Excessive security to VIPs is not only leaving the common man unprotected but is delaying justice as happened in 21,990 cases of undertrials in nine state jails, where they could not be escorted to courts as the police was busy in VIP duty.
The annual report of comptroller auditor general of Punjab on the internal security of Punjab jails revealed this. It was based on facts collected from Bathinda, Ferozepur, Amritsar, Ludhiana, Hoshiarpur, Kapurthala, Moga and Ropar jails between April 2006-March 2007.
Owing to heavy police security to politicians during their visits, there is no police escort to take undertrials for hearings. And the courts are left with no other option but to adjourn the cases. This not only delays the disposal of cases but also cause harassment to witnesses and investigating officers.
The report suggested that the state should evolve a mechanism to ensure that no undertrial was unnecessary detained in jails for want of escort.
Izhar Alam, DGP (prison) said, "Providing escort to undertrials is the responsibility of the district police, so the jail authorities can do little for producing undertrials in court in absence of police escort."
In Bathinda jail, where over 100 undertrials are taken to various courts, even to Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, every day for various cases, police inadequacy on account of this stands exposed. The problem increased in proportion after Bathinda emerged as "political capital" since SAD came to power and the Badal family became frequent visitor to the town.
Bathinda police chief Ashish Chaudhary said video conferencing was soon going to solve this problem and there would be no need to take undertrials to the court. However, Alam said the plan of introducing video conferencing in state jails was at its nascent stage.
Under criminal procedure code, the presence of an undertrial is mandatory in the court during the trial of a criminal case. Only if an accused is declared proclaimed offender, the courts can proceed in his absence.
Bathinda jail superintendent LS Jakhar stated that though the district police authorities were always conveyed about the requisite police force two days in advance to escort undertrials to the court, many a time the authorities informed us at the eleventh hour that the force was not available due to visits of political leaders or some law and order problem. Then we are left with no option but to send a telegram to the courts, conveying about our helplessness in taking the undertrial to court in absence of escort, he added.