Thousands prisoners in Indian jails shall get relief/freedom on Supreme Court direction, in Bhim Singh’s petition

Division Bench of Supreme Court of India comprising Hon’ble Chief Justice Mr. R.M. Lodha, Justice Mr. Kurian Joseph & Justice Mr. R.F. Nariman today passed highly revolutionary order directing all the Sessions Judges (Judicial Officers) to visit the prisons under their jurisdiction and examine the record of each prisoner languishing in the respective prisons. The Supreme Court further directed that the Sessions Judges shall be empowered to release such under-trials (facing trials) if they have served out their sentences for the offence they were charged with.

The Supreme Court passed this historic order on the writ petition no.310/2005, a PIL filed by Sr. Advocate Prof.Bhim Singh seeking release of all Pakistani/foreign prisoners who have completed their sentences or served out jail term equal or more than the actual sentence they would have been awarded if sentence in the respective offences.

Prof.Bhim Singh told the media outside the Court that nearly 4 lacs prisoners across the country shall be benefited. He also said that over two lacs prisoners/convicted are facing trials because of slow delivery of justice for want of sufficient courts. The court further directed that all such prisoners shall also be released on personal want if they have completed half of the sentence within the meaning of Section 436 (A) of the Cr.P.C.

The Supreme Court has directed that this order shall be operated from 1st October, 2014.

Mr. Mukul Rohtagi, Attorney General for Govt. of India was directed by the court on 1st August, 2014 to submit a roadmap for establishing fast-track courts in the country to provide speedy justice to the prisoners languishing in jails across the country. The Attorney General could not submit any written plan. Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate who also appeared for his petition and several other petitions filed by the Panthers Party and the State Legal Aid Committee submitted in the court that nearly 60% prisoners languishing in jails are from the families living below the poverty line and they hardly can afford the sureties for the bail. The Supreme Court directed that those prisoners who have completed half of the period of their sentences shall be released by the Sessions Judge by signing the orders right inside the courts and such prisoners shall be released on filing personal bonds.

Chief Justice Mr. Justice R.M. Lodha appreciated the efforts of Prof.Bhim Singh and admired his dedication with which he has been fighting for the cause of the helpless and foreign prisoners mostly from Pakistan.

Prof.Bhim Singh also urged the court for its immediate intervention assuring the freedom and deportation of 25 prisoners who have been declared mentally challenged by the competent authorities, five of them are goongas (deaf and dumb) who he said have been languishing in Amritsar jail for years. The court directed the Union of India to expedite their repatriation/deportation if such prisoners are not required in any offence in India.  

Prof.Bhim Singh also informed the court that a Joint Defence Committee of India and Pakistan advocates has been constituted comprising of advocates from Pakistan as well which is looking after the cases of the Indian prisoners in Pakistan jails. Chief Justice, Mr. Justice R.M. Lodha also appreciated Prof.Bhim Singh’s fight for Pak-prisoners consistently for years.  When Prof.Bhim Singh arose to congratulate the Supreme Court for lane the foundation of the true civil rights in India by signing such a great judgment, the Chief Justice replied that, “This is just a beginning.”        

Prof.Bhim Singh was assisted by Mr. B.S. Billowria, Ms. Preeti Sirohi, Mr. P.V. Yogeswaran & Ram Siromani Yadav, Advocates.     

 

Suram Chand, Office Secretary-SLAC