The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that about 5,000 under trial prisoners were in jails despite being granted bail and 1,417 of them have been released.
A bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and A.S. Oka is hearing a matter, which relates to policy strategy for grant of bail. Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, who is an amicus curiae in the matter, cited the NALSA report before the court.
The top court was informed that pursuant to the November 29 order, the NALSA wrote to the state legal services authorities (SLSAs) seeking details of such under trial prisoners (UTPs) within 15 days and they were also directed to provide necessary legal assistance for their release.
The SLSAs submitted the data with NALSA by December end last year and then they were asked to furnish a progress report on legal assistance and release of under trials, who were in custody despite being granted bail.
According to the report, there were about 5,000 under trial prisoners who were in jail, despite grant of bail and out of which, 2,357 persons were provided legal assistance, and 1,417 persons have since been released.
In November last year, the apex court flagged the issue of under trials, who continue to languish in jail despite being granted bail, as they were unable to fulfil the conditions of bail. It had asked the state governments to issue directions to jail authorities to provide details of such UTPs to NALSA.
The NALSA, in the report filed in the apex court, said it is in the process of creating a “master data” of all such under trial prisoners, who could not either furnish surety or bail bonds due to poverty.
According to the report, the accused continue to languish in jail despite being granted bail because they are accused in multiple cases and are not willing to furnish bail bonds until they are given bail in all the cases, as under trial custody will be counted in all the cases.