Bangalore Jail record shows 70% undertrials did not attend a court hearing
Just as the decision of the Supreme Court and the view of the central government came that all undertrial prisoners who have completed more than half of the maximum term should be released, the Amnesty International India has come up with startling statistics. On the basis of scrutiny of data obtained under the Right to Information (RTI) Act and a survey, the organisation has claimed that between January and June 2014, nearly seventy percent of the undertrials lodged in the Bangalore Central Prison could not attend the hearing in the court either in person or through videoconferencing. Further, no videoconference hearing was conducted between February and June 2014 as the facility was out of order and an escort could not be arranged to take the inmates to the court for hearings.
Divya Iyer, Research Manager, Amnesty International India, has claimed that there are discrepancies and inconsistencies in the prison records and the number of undertrials eligible for release under section 436A of the Criminal Procedure Code could be found only after the corrections in the records.
The reply to the RTI application has shown that only three of seven videoconferencing units are functional. With such a large number of undertrials awaiting court hearings, would it not be a good idea to hold the court proceedings in the jail compound / adjacent compound?