Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed judicial officers across the state to visit every prison in their district to identify and release undertrials in consonance with the directions by the Supreme Court of India.
In a landmark ruling, the apex court on September 5 this year ordered the release of all undertrial prisoners who have already served half the term of sentence except for those whose offence attract death penalty.
As per the verdict passed by a three-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, Sessions Judges, Chief Judicial Magistrates and Magistrates were to start their jail visits from October 1 to identify and release under trials. Reports were to be filed to the respective State High Courts, which were to pass them on to the Supreme Court.
Pursuant to directions, high court’s Registrar General—Suresh Kumar Sharma—has issued a circular on November 12, asking all the jurisdictional magistrates, CJMs and the session judges to hold one sitting in a week in each jail or prison to identify cases of those under trial prisoners who have completed half of the maximum period of imprisonment provided for the offence under law for which the prisoner has been jailed.
The judicial officers, as per the circular, have been asked to pass appropriate orders in the jail for release of such undertrial prisoners after complying with the procedure prescribed under section 436A of the CrPC (central).
The Section says that under trial prisoners, who suffered detention during the period of investigation, inquiry or trial for one-half of their maximum imprisonment should be released by the court on personal bond with or without sureties.
“(The judicial officers are directed) to submit the report of each sitting (to me),” said the Registrar General, who will submit the report to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court.
“The report by the officers shall be submitted on or before November 30 apart from the weekly report as ordered by the Supreme Court,” the Registrar said and asked all the officers to comply with the orders “without any irregularity.”