Politicians accused of serious corruption charges , actors indulging in heinous crimes and business men charged with cheating and evading taxes are able to prolong the trial in the courts for several years and then get bail within a few days of being convicted. However, the poor persons who may or may not be law breakers, languish in jail as undertrials for several years without their cases being taken up in the court for hearing .
As per 2013 data, there are as many as 2.8 lakh undertrials in various jails, with over three thousand of them being behind bars for over five years. Obviously, this reflects very poorly on the judiciary and the judges .
One fact that one cannot miss is that the judges do not work full time and enjoy many holidays in a year much more than any government employee. While undertrial prisoners remain in jail and suffer while hoping that their cases would be taken up in the court soon, the judges close the courts for vacations , giving scope for criticism that they are unconcerned about the urgent need to dispose the cases, as early as possible, which are lakhs in number.
While supreme court routinely makes observations on the rights of the undertrials, it has done very little to reduce the sufferings of the undertrials or their number .
The fact is that many undertrials may be really innocent persons on whom false charges might have been framed by the police . There are many rules in force such as Goondas Act etc. which gives power to the police to detain the individuals even on suspicion and everyone knows that all police men in the country are not honest. There could be many cases of vengeful detentions.
In the present scenario where several judgements surprise even the legal pandits , is it too much to expect the judges to realise their responsibilities towards the undertrails and act with great sense of urgency to hear such cases involving undertrials ?
While lakhs of cases are in the court, judges still follow the pre independent practice of going on vacation , which is nothing but anachronism at the present time.
Nandini Voice For The Deprived
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