Published on: 30 November 2022 at 20:28 IST
The Supreme Court ordered all of the State Governments to require the jail officials to provide specific information about under-trial inmates who have been granted bail but are still in custody because they were unable to adhere to the terms of their release.
The case was presented before Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and A.S. Agrawal and AS Oka. The bench specifically requested the following data on a chart:
- Named detainee;
- Offence for which they were held accountable;
- Date on which bail was approved;
- Bail requirements that weren’t followed;
- How much time has passed since the bail was approved; and
- When bail was granted.
The Bench ordered the State Governments to make sure that the jail officials provide them with the necessary information within 15 days. The State Governments must then provide the information to NALSA within a week, which will provide the detainees with legal aid and make comments as needed.
Justice Kaul noted that there are many cases where even after being granted bail, the detenues are languishing in jail merely because they cannot fulfil the bail conditions while the Bench was considering a batch of petitions of life convicts in prison whose appeals are pending before various High Courts.
The Bench issued the aforementioned order in an effort to obtain a reasonable estimate of the number of such cases.
The Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) had earlier raised the issue, the Amicus Curiae informed the Bench. He continued by saying that the DLSA had made a suggestion about the provision of bail bonds for individuals who are unable to do so even after being granted bail.
In Delhi, According to Justice Kaul, “I suppose the number of such cases may be low; the issue may be more acute in States where financial resources become a problem.”
Justice Oka emphasised that the detainees’ inability to meet the bail terms meant that the only option to resolve the situation might be to request their modification. He said that an application for such a revision must be submitted in each case.
Therefore, gathering information on how many of these situations there are becomes essential.
Justice Oka also mentioned that the DLSA’s suggested exercise is being carried out by the Tata Institute for Social Sciences. The Bench noted in the judgement that NALSA may work with TISS to carry out bail orders in light of the aforementioned circumstance.
The E-prison module has been installed in all 52 prisons in Karnataka, according to information provided by the Karnataka Legal Services Authority during the course of the hearing, according to the Amicus. He made the suggestion that other States consider doing the same. The Bench took note of his suggestion and stated:
“Legal Aid Information Module” was not enabled in Karnataka Prison. The actions taken – a meeting with NALSA – produced a result. The E-Prison Module, which has some key features would enable effective monitoring, is to be updated in the E-Prison portal accordingly.
The solution from the Amicus is that this should be implemented throughout the country with coordination between SLSA and prison authorities. Be completed within a period of two months.