Lawstreet Journal

SC Grants Bail to Undertrial Prisoner, to Protect Fundamental Rights,Despite a Statutory Bar [READ ORDER]

Lawstreet Journal 5 Feb 2021 12:54am

Image courtesy: Lawstreet Journal Judiciary SC Grants Bail to Undertrial Prisoner, to Protect Fundamental Rights,Despite a Statutory Bar [READ ORDER]

Undertrials constitute more than 70% of prisoners in Indian jails and their numbers are rising. The overcrowding in prisons has received renewed attention during the pandemic but little has been done to improve their lot. 

Often there are delays in presenting the undertrials before the concerned courts for grant of bail due to shortage of policemen to escort them and even due to shortage of hand-cuffs. Many of those granted bails cannot furnish surety and continue to languish in jail. These impediments to the access of the legal system cause violation of the fundamental right to liberty of the prisoners guaranteed under Article 21.

In its judgement in Union of India v. K. A. Najeeb CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 98 of 2021 the Supreme Court asserted the rights of the undertrial prisoners. The Court reiterated that the fundamental rights of undertrial prisoners are to be protected despite a statutory bar to the grant of bail. The court held that in statutes related to grievous offences like terrorism or narcotics bar against grant of bail is provided in consideration of the societal impacts that might arise if the accused are allowed to roam free but this restriction has to be balanced by a speedy trial so as not to affect the rights of the accused.

The respondent in the case is an undertrial prisoner booked in connection with an incident that happened in 2010 where the right-hand of a college Professor was chopped off by a group of miscreants. The respondent along with other members… Continue Reading...

Tagged: Supreme Court of India  
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