Elderly prisoners of Tihar Jail,and those inmates suffering from chronic illness,could soon look forward to stepping out of prison with the Delhi High Court ordering the authorities to put in place a new mechanism to ensure speedy disposal of bail pleas by undertrials and convicts.
Concerned over their prolonged wait for a decision on their appeals and bail applications,the High Court asked the Tihar jail superintendents to furnish the detailed lists of undertrials and convicts whose appeals are pending before the court.
A Bench headed by Justice S Ravindra Bhat has entrusted the Registrar General with the task of making sure all the information is compiled in an appropriate manner,and placed before the Benches concerned for expeditious disposal of the cases.
The order takes into account two groups of inmates. In the first category,old or terminally ill or significantly disabled inmates will get the benefit of swift decisions on their parole applications as well as their appeal against the conviction order. This will also include convicts who have already undergone at least half of their prison term.
Jail superintendents have been asked to send to a Deputy Registrar,appointed by the Registrar General for the task,the lists of such appellants. These lists shall include specific remarks about their age,whether he or she is chronically or terminally ill on account of TB,HIV and cancer,if they suffer from any significant disability and also if they are above 65 years.
Justice Bhat said the request to go out of jail must be put before the High Court Bench every Thursday,irrespective of the fact whether or not they moved any application in this regard. The courts will then pass necessary orders and directions.
The court,hereby,directs that in all such cases where the convicts have been in jail for half the period of the sentence awarded as well as appellants who are in custody and are suffering from terminal illness,or are senior citizens,the Registry shall ensure that such appeals are listed before the court for directions with an office note,stating the period spent in custody and irrespective of whether an application has been made for expedited hearing, the Bench said in its order.
The second category of inmates would be those convicts and undertrials who have been granted bail,but were unable to go out since they couldnt furnish the bail bond money. Coming to their rescue,the Bench asked the jail superintendents to furnish the lists of such convicts every month-end to the Registry,and also to the court in electronic format.
Immediately after receiving the lists,the officer concerned shall ensure such matters are listed before the court on Thursday in the succeeding week, the court said.
The Bench said the lists would be made available to the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA),which would provide necessary help to the convicts by way of legal assistance in getting the bail bond amount reduced or release on personal bond.