The Delhi High Court recently directed the Delhi Police to ensure that no charge-sheet is filed in any case without the written consent and approval of the Prosecution Branch.
The Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar ordered, “Appropriate directions in this regard shall be passed by the Commissioner of Police, Delhi and communicated to all investigating officers."
The Court further directed the Delhi Judicial Academy (DJA) to conduct training of District Judges after noting non-compliance of the law in dealing with women prisoners lodged in Jail No. 6 of Tihar Jail. Prof. Mrinal Satish and Dr. Aparna Chandra from National Law University, Delhi are expected to assist in the formulation and execution of the training module.
"The Director, Delhi Judicial Academy shall ensure that attention of the trainee Judges is drawn to the statutory provisions as well as to the judicial precedents before the commencement of the trainings," the Court added.
It directed the DJA to place the training module and the schedule for its implementation before it. It further clarified that for reasons of expediency, the trainings shall be held at the District Court Complexes or at the nearest available Court Complex.
The two Professors are assisting the Court in a suo motu Petition initiated pursuant to a letter received from Supreme Court Judge, Justice Kurian Joseph.
Justice Joseph had received an appeal from 612 women prisoners from Tihar Jail, complaining of overcrowding in Jail No. 6 where they were lodged, delay in disposal of their cases and their non-release on bail if they are unable to fulfill conditions of bail bonds. They had also brought to his notice the fact that kids aged six years or more were being kept away from their mothers.
He had then “earnestly” requested the Chief Justice of the High Court “to take up the matter appropriately so that the cry for justice is answered in accordance with law with the promptitude with which a mother responds to the cry of her child”.
During a recent hearing, the Court took into account a report submitted by the two Professors pursuant to its order dated 7 November, 2016, wherein they had been directed to examine issues pertaining to release of undertrials under Section 436A of the Cr.P.C. by the trial courts.
The report now submitted by the duo indicated that principles of criminal law were being violated while dealing with cases against women prisoners of Tihar Jail. It noted, "Non-compliance of express provisions and established principles of law by binding judicial precedents is made out with regard to proceedings in Trial Courts."
They also highlighted two cases where the undertrial women deserved bail but had not been granted the same. In fact, in one of the cases, a woman was being tried for offences punishable under Sections 307 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, and had been denied bail seven times despite having been in custody since June, 2014.
Taking note of the two cases, the Court directed the Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority to examine the same and take steps in accordance with law at the earliest. The matter has now been listed on 1 May.
Read the Order Here