Hardened criminals might have been moved out of the Arthur Road prison for security reasons ever since Ajmal Kasab,the lone arrested terrorist for 26/11 terror attacks,is lodged there. But,the Bombay High Court order last year,making it compulsory that those arrested for petty offences punishable for less than three years be released on a personal bond,has helped the jail authorities in managing Kasabs security in a better way.
A Division Bench of the High Court had,on November 11,2008,ordered,through an amendment to section 436 of CrPC in 2005,it was decided that if a person is granted bail and he is unable to furnish the bail bond within seven days,then he should be declared indigent (poor or needy) and be released from jail.
According to statistics available on the prison before the order,there were over 2,400 inmates in the prison,of which the original capacity is 804,and 1,255 of them were charged under bailable offences.
As many as 1,182 have been released after the order. On a given day,10 to 12 inmates are released after they furnish a personal bond before the court,jail officials said.
Jail superintendent Swati Sathe says,the order is a blessing in disguise. A big number of petty offenders are released nowadays,helping us in the administration. Earlier,we had to lodge them in various barracks or we had to stash them up in small cells.
These days,the jail staff send such offenders after seven days to the court and a proper course of law is followed,she said.
Jail sources said,most of these inmates are booked for petty offences. They are poor and have no one to bail them out. They get a chance to go out this way or else they used to be in the jail for months.
Sources also said the personal hygiene of these offenders is so bad. Further,the jail officials have to take due care of them and also keep a close watch on them so that they dont commit suicide or harm other inmates.
The chances of these petty offenders being used by gangsters for smuggling things from outside when they are taken for regular court proceedings and passing information to gang members is also high,they said.
This is what every jailor wants and this is the best remedy for decongesting prisons across the state, Sathe sums up.
OVER THE MONTHS
* There were over 2,500 inmates in November 2008; 1,255 of them charged under bailable offences
* A total of 1,182 inmates have been released by March 26,2009
* 10-12 inmates being released every day on personal bond