By Aqib Ahmad
SRINAGAR: Chairman of National Human Rights Commission has written a letter to Chief Justice of the state, urging him to instruct courts to grant bail in bailable offences and not to insist on higher amount for indigent prisoners.
Following the letter, Chief Justice N Paul Vasantha Kumar on Saturday called for report from all Principal District & Sessions Judges within a week.
In his letter, chairman of the NHRC Justice H.L. Dattu said that one of the functions of the Commission under Section 12 of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 is to visit any jail or any other institutions under the control of the State Government and to study the living conditions of the inmates.
“Increasing number of undertrials is, one of the major factors responsible for overcrowding of jails. The congestion in jails is so bad that it creates health problems as well as compromise the basic minimum requirement for a human being,” said Justice Dattu, the former Chief Justice of India who assumed office in February last year.
To decongest the jails, he said that focus should be bail for bailable offences by the courts and that the first offender, under section 4 of the Probation of Offenders Act, be placed under the control of the Probationary Officer rather than continue in the jail.
“Of course, the magistrate or the judge will have to take a decision based on the facts of the case,” he said and urged the chief justice of the high court to instruct all the subordinate courts to consider bails for the bailable offences and not to insist on higher amount of bail for indigent prisoners. “Currently, there is reluctance on his part of the courts which can be successfully removed by your instruction or direction and continuous monitoring,” Justice Dattu has said.