SC issues guidelines to avoid delay in release of prisoners on bail

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The Supreme Court, on Thursday, 2 February, issued a set of directions related to undertrial prisoners, who have been granted bail, but continue to languish in prison for not being able to fulfill conditions mentioned in their bail order.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S. Oka said that:

1) The court passing the bail order would be required to e-mail a soft copy of the order to the prisoner through the jail superintendent on the same or the next day. The Superintendent will then have to enter the date of the grant of bail in the e-prisons software or any other software being used by them.

2) If the accused is not released within a period of 7 days, it would be the jail superintendent’s responsibility to get the prisoner in touch, through appropriate authorities, with a para legal volunteer or jail visiting advocate to assist them.

3) If the prisoner says that they can furnish bail bonds or sureties only when released, then the court should consider granting them temporary bail for a specific period so that they can do what is necessary.

4) If the bail bonds are not furnished within one month from the date of grant bail, the Court may suo moto take up the case and consider whether the conditions of bail require modification/ relaxation.

5) The court can even considering not imposing the condition of local surety in some cases because one of the reasons which delays the release of the accused/convict is the insistence on local surety.

6) If the inmate is unable to file sureties or fulfill bail conditions because of their socio-economic conditions then the appropriate officer can file a report before the court and request relaxation of bail conditions.

7) The National Informatics Centre (NIC) would make upgrades in the e-prison software so that whenever the prisoner is not released within the seven days, an automatic email is sent to the Secretary of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA). (Agencies)

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