The Government is considering to free undertrials who have served half of their maximum terms of sentence. The following measures have been taken by the Government in this regard-
(i) An advisory has been issued by the Government of India on 17.1.2013 to the States/UTs regarding use of section 436A of the Cr.P.C to reduce overcrowding of prisons. The same can also be accessed on the website of Ministry of Home Affairs at the link:
(ii) Hon’ble Supreme Court in its order dated 5.9.2014 in Writ Petition No. 310/2005 – Bhim Singh Vs Union of India & Others relating to undertrial prisoners, has directed for effective implementation of Section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure by directing the jurisdictional Magistrate/Chief Judicial Magistrate/Sessions Judge to hold one sitting in a week in each jail/prison for two months commencing from 1st October, 2014 for the purposes of effective implementation of section 436A of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In its sittings in jail, the above judicial officers shall identify the under-trial prisoners who have completed half period of the maximum period or maximum period of imprisonment provided for the said offence under the law and after complying with the procedure prescribed under Section 436A pass an appropriate order in jail itself for release of such under-trial prisoners who fulfill the requirement of section 436 A of Cr P. C.
(iii) An advisory dated 27.9.2014 has also been issued by the Government of India to the States/UTs on reckoning half-life of time spent in judicial custody of Undertrial prisoners under Section 436A of Cr. P.C. The same can also be accessed on the website of the Ministry of Home Affairs at the link:
As per data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) at the end of 2013, out of the total population of 4,11,992 inmates in jails, the total number of undertrial prisoners in the country was 2,78,503, which constitutes 67.6% of total inmates.
The Union Home Minister has written to the Chief Ministers of all States/UTs on 3.9.2014 regarding use of section 436A of Cr. P.C. to reduce overcrowding in jails of the country.
DG (Prisons)/IG (Prisons) of all States/UTs have also been requested by the Government of India on 22.9.2014 to take necessary action to comply with the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the matter of Bhim Singh Vs Union of India & Others.
This was stated by Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Kiren Rijiju in a written reply to Shri S.Thangavelu in the Rajya Sabha today.