Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
Top Stories

SC Fine Tunes Under Trial Review Committees [Read Order]

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
1 Nov 2017 5:01 PM GMT
SC Fine Tunes Under Trial Review Committees [Read Order]
x

Following its concern that a large number of under trial prisoners are still languishing in prisons across the country, the  Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B.Lokur and Deepak Gupta, on October 31 reviewed the functioning of the Under Trial Review Committees.  The UTR Committees include among others, the District Judge, the Superintendent of Police as well as District Magistrate.  ...

Following its concern that a large number of under trial prisoners are still languishing in prisons across the country, the  Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B.Lokur and Deepak Gupta, on October 31 reviewed the functioning of the Under Trial Review Committees.  The UTR Committees include among others, the District Judge, the Superintendent of Police as well as District Magistrate.   On October 10, the bench asked Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh to explain why the recommendations of the Member Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority and the UTR Committees for the release of the Under Trial prisoners have not been accepted.

On October 31, the bench took  note of the affidavits of these three States, and heard their counsel, apart from the AG, K.K.Venugopal, and Alok Agarwal, Member Secretary, National Legal Services Autholrity (NALSA).   The Amicus Curiae  in the case, Gaurav Agrawal, was also heard by the bench.   The bench perhaps understood that there could be various factors for the non-compliance with the recommendations of the UTR Committees for the release of the under trial prisoners, and to expect the state authorities to compile the reasons for non-compliance in every case of release or non-release of under trial prisoner within the limited time might be unrealistic.

Accepting the suggestions of the counsel, the bench directed the inclusion of Superindent of the District Jail/Central Jail/Sub-Jail  in the UTR Committees.

According to Smita Chakraburtty,  an activist and researcher on prison reforms, the inclusion of Jail Superintendents in the UTR Committees, is a long-awaited reform, though the inclusion of members from the civil society, would have made it more meaningful and effective.  Her apprehension is that the DLSA and the Jail Superintendent may develop an unholy nexus, and the DLSA may stop taking onus for jail reform, and the accountability for jail reform may be shifted to the prison department again.

Framing a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the functioning of the UTR Committees for all States was another suggestion which the bench found worthy of accepting.   The bench entrusted this responsibility to Gaurav Agrawal, and Alok Agarwal, who would interact with the counsel for Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, for the purpose.  The SOP  will include the procedures to be followed after the recommendations are made by the UTRC for moving appropriate applications before the concerned court for release of the UTPs.

The bench took note of the forthcoming meeting, convened by the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 16, in which the Inspector General of Police (Prisons) of all the States will participate, to discuss the software pertaining to e-prisons, and the implementation of the Court’s directions in the matter.

The bench clarified that it had no intention to take away the jurisdiction of the NHRC in respect of the cases that have already been decided and in which compensation has been awarded and with regard to the pending cases of custodial deaths. But it requested the NHRC to ensure that payment of compensation is made early.

Read the Order Here

Next Story