New Delhi, Aug 5 : The Supreme Court on Friday reiterated that Prisoners, particularly those from the poorer social and economic milieu who have been shackled in Prison for ten years and are entitled to bail and given that the country is celebrating its 75 years of Independence and Independence, some action in this direction must be taken by the state and Central governments.A bench of Justices S.K.Kaul and M.M.Sundresh said that Prisoners who have been waiting in Prison for more than 10 years must be granted bail, and those that have been in jail for 14 years should be considered as remission candidates.
It was suggested to develop an uniform remission policy should it be feasible for all state governments and in instances where state governments are unable to granting bail to certain defendants who have been at least 10 years in Prison, these issues could be considered in isolation.
Justice Kaul said: “We are celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Independence Why can’t some actions be taken by the state government.it’s the right time to examine the situation where an accused is sat in Prison for a long time of time, in a lower socioeconomic class.The accused have been accused with only one crime.”
He said that the Central government could begin discussions with the states’ governments in situations where the period in custody has exceeded a specific percentage of the maximum penalty, like the equivalent of one third of the sentence.
Justice Kaul also emphasised that the good conduct of the prisoner should be considered a requirement to their release.
This could ease the burden on trials courts in several cases.
The court emphasized plea bargains, which are very popular in the US but also noted that it can workdue to the stigma of conviction can make the accused acknowledge guilt.”Trial courts could utilize it in a positive way,” it noted.
Justice Kaul pointed out that every case must be argued to the final day, and each case must go for appeal, and then be heard by an apex court it could take several hundred years to address pendency.”Out of box thinking is necessary,” he said.
The bench also stated that in cases where conviction has not been made and the trial is still pending for a long period of time as a one-time procedure the trial could be closed and those who are in good behavior could be released.
It was noted that in situations in which the accused has completed the equivalent of one third of the sentence, bail may be granted if he or she behaves.”The concept is to convey a message – in the event that a case is still being argued against an accused person, he can offer a bail of good conduct and the case can be dismissed,” said the bench.
Justice Sundresh said: “Some appeals are permitted.which will allow them to return the time they were incarcerated.”
The bench also told the Additional Solicitor General K.M.Nataraj who represents the Central government that in collaboration with the state governments, the Centre could come up with an idea for a policy.
“Please think of coming up with something.that is a bit outside of the box.”
As Nataraj wanted to get the court’s time for four weeks in this matter, Justice Kaul said: “Do something before Independence Day.it will send an message.Start a new beginning.”
After a lengthy hearing in the case the supreme court scheduled the matter for a second hearings on the 14th of September.
Advocate Arjun Garg, who is representing the Madhya Pradesh High Court, said: “Taking note of the information provided by the various high courts with regards to the duration of criminal appeals, and in particular cases that have been in the process for more than 10 years, the court noted that the nation is celebrating Azadi Mahotsav, also known as ka Amrit.some relief could be granted to those in jail for between 10 – and 14-years.The court urged the ASG to determine whether a solution can be found in time for Independence Day in this regard.”
The highest court is hearing cases related to Uttar Pradesh, where persons are in jail for long periods of time and an suo moto case concerning the policy of granting of bail is in the works.