The Supreme Court has issued various guidelines to avoid delay on the issue of releasing prisoners who continue to be in jail despite having been granted the benefit of bail due to various reasons.
A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Abhay S Oka issued the guidelines in an order delivered on Tuesday.
One of the directions issued by the top court was that the concerned court which grants bail to an undertrial prisoner/convict would be required to send a soft copy of the bail order by e-mail to the prisoner through the Jail Superintendent on the same day or the next day, and the Jail Superintendent would be required to enter the date of grant of bail in the e-prisons software or any other software which is being used by the Prison Department.
If the accused is not released within 7 days from the date of grant of bail, it would be the duty of the Superintendent of Jail to inform the Secretary, DLSA who may depute para legal volunteer or jail visiting advocate to interact with the prisoner and assist the prisoner in all ways possible for his release, the top court said.
"NIC would make attempts to create necessary fields in the e-prison software so that the date of grant of bail and date of release are entered by the Prison Department and in case the prisoner is not released within 7 days, then an automatic email can be sent to the Secretary, DLSA," the top court directed.
"The Secretary, DLSA with a view to find out the economic condition of the accused, may take help of the Probation Officers or the Para Legal Volunteers to prepare a report on the socio-economic conditions of the inmate which may be placed before the concerned Court with a request to relax the condition (s) of bail/surety."
"In cases where the undertrial or convict requests that he can furnish bail bond or sureties once released, then in an appropriate case, the Court may consider granting temporary bail for a specified period to the accused so that he can furnish bail bond or sureties," the top court directed.
If the bail bonds are not furnished within one month from the date of grant bail, the concerned Court may suo moto take up the case and consider whether the conditions of bail require modification/relaxation.
"One of the reasons which delays the release of the accused/ convict is the insistence upon local surety. It is suggested that in such cases, the courts may not impose the condition of localsurety," the top court ordered.
The court was dealing with the matter related to policy strategy for the grant of bail.
Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, Amicus Curiae in the matter has drawn the attention on various relating to prisoners who continue to be in custody despite having been granted the benefit of bail on account of their inability to fulfill the conditions.
One of the main reasons flagged was the accused are in jail despite the grant of bail is that they may be accused in multiple cases and is apparently not willing to furnish bail bonds until he is given bail in all the cases as undertrial custody will be counted in all the cases.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on March 28 2023. (ANI)