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Home / India / 42,259 undertrials released across country during lockdown: Nalsa report

42,259 undertrials released across country during lockdown: Nalsa report

Relief for 1,715 in Bengal; steps according to high powered panels constituted at behest of apex court
The report said that across the country, a total of 16,391 convicts were released during the period on parole, etc. according to the recommendations of the panels

PTI   |   New Delhi   |   Published 15.05.20, 04:51 PM

A total of 42,259 undertrials were released across the country during the lockdown in a move to decongest prisons in view of the coronavirus outbreak.

An interim report on initiative taken by the National Legal Services Authority (Nalsa) said that during the period, Uttar Pradesh released highest number of 9,977 undertrials followed by Rajasthan (5,460), Tamil Nadu (4,547), Punjab (3,698), Maharashtra (3,400), Madhya Pradesh (2,833), Delhi (2,177), Haryana (1,843), Bengal (1,715) and Chhattisgarh (1,643).

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Nalsa said that during the pandemic, the undertrials were released pursuant to the recommendations of the high powered committees constituted by the Supreme Court.

The top court had on March 23 directed all the states and Union Territories to constitute high powered committees which could decide which prisoners may be released on interim bail or parole during the pandemic.

The report said that across the country, a total of 16,391 convicts were released during the period on parole, etc. according to the recommendations of the panels.

Madhya Pradesh topped the chart in releasing most prisoners on parole with number totalling to 3,577 persons and it was followed by Punjab (3,479), Haryana (2,859), Uttar Pradesh (1,989), Kerala (1,128), Delhi (1,010), Bengal (488) and Karnataka (405).

Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh and Odisha released 334, 228, 182, 133 and 103 convicts during the period on parole.

To comply with Nalsa directives, state legal services authorities (SLSA) have initiated mechanisms to achieve the target of social distancing in prisons by taking various measures with the ultimate objective of reducing overcrowding in jails, the report said giving the details of activities undertaken by Nalsa during the lockdown.

The Nalsa report said that apart from releasing undertrials and granting parole to convicts, legal representation has also been provided to 9,558 persons at the remand stage in various states and UTs.

The report went on to say that Nalsa endeavoured to allow the poor and the illiterate to approach courts of law even during the pandemic.

The report said that during the lockdown, 825 people had approached it with grievances relating to denial of wages/salaries by employers on behalf of themselves as well as other daily wagers.

At least 1,822 people were provided with legal aid and assistance by the legal services authorities. The highest number of such cases were reported in Uttarakhand (226) followed by Haryana (221), Punjab (166), Himachal Pradesh (77) and Mizoram (38). Legal aid and assistance were provided in all such cases, the report said, adding that legal aid and assistance was provided to 1,018 people of Bihar.

The report also highlighted that in 310 cases, legal aid and assistance were provided to tenants facing eviction during the lockdown period and the state with the highest number of cases in which most assistance was sought by the tenants was Uttarakhand (202).

It said that legal aid and assistance was also provided in Bengal, Haryana and Karnataka, which reported 40, 34 and 12 cases respectively.

Per the data, a total of 727 cases relating to domestic violence were reported to the legal services authorities in states and UTs for seeking legal aid and assistance during the period of the lockdown.

The report said the highest number of cases was reported in Uttarakhand (144) followed by Haryana (79), Delhi (63), Chandigarh (50), Tamil Nadu (48), Punjab and Uttar Pradesh (47 each) and Bengal (46).

It said that Odisha reported 37 cases, Chhattisgarh reported 31 cases, Bihar reported 21 cases while, Kerala has 18 such cases, Jammu and Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram reported 17 cases each, Maharashtra reported 12 cases and Himachal Pradesh had 10 cases.

Of these, in 658 cases (90.51 per cent), legal aid and assistance were provided to the women who sought legal aid and assistance on domestic violence, the highest being in Uttarakhand (141) followed by Haryana (66), Delhi (63), Chandigarh (50), Uttar Pradesh (47), Bengal (46), Punjab (34), Odisha (31), Bihar and Chhattisgarh (25 each) and Mizoram (21), the report said.

The report was compiled by Nalsa after collecting data from SLSAs. A total of 28 SLSAs have submitted their data while eight SLSAs did not submitted the figures in their respective states.

As a result of committed efforts of stakeholders, the statistics indicates that legal services institutions have so far provided legal aid and assistance in 658 domestic violence cases to women, 42,772 undertrials, 16,391 convicts, 9,558 persons at the remand stage, 1,882 labourers, 310 tenants, amongst others, Nalsa said.



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