The AAP government has told the Delhi High Court that over 1,400 undertrial prisoners can be released from jails of the national capital if the Supreme Court’s order that arrests can be made only if they are required is followed.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was also told that the trial court and police were violating the Supreme Court direction, which attracts contempt of court proceedings against the authorities concerned.
“If the Supreme Court order is followed that police should not arrest persons unless they are required and courts should not authorise detentions in a mechanical manner, at least 1,460 undertrial prisoners will get the benefit, who can walk out of the jail immediately,” the Delhi government’s senior standing counsel Rahul Mehra said.
1,460 undertrial male prisoners are lodged in jails of Delhi for offences which are punishable with less than seven years of jail term, he added, while referring to the status report filed by the Delhi government.
He further said that both the police and trial courts are responsible for putting these prisoners behind bars, so in violation of the Supreme Court direction they are liable to face contempt proceedings.
Mehra further urged the court that some direction can be passed under Section 227 (If, upon consideration of the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith, and after hearing the submissions of the accused and the prosecution in this behalf, the judge considers that there is not sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused, he shall discharge the accused and record his reasons for so doing) of the CrPC.
The Delhi government’s submission came in the backdrop of court’s query which was sought during hearing of the issues related to overcrowding in jails and prolonged detention of male and female undertrial prisoners in Delhi.
Meanwhile, Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) said that the police officials are found to be violating the Supreme Court’s direction.