Legal System Distorted As Only Poor Languish In Jail Without Trial: P Chidambaram

Congress leader P Chidambaram has claimed that the legal system in the country is broken and only the poor are confined to jail.
P Chidambaram
Congress Leader Chidambaram at Press Conference

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday alleged that the legal system in the country is distorted and only the poor languish in jail without trial or bail.

The Former Union Minister P Chidambaram cited the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to say that a majority of undertrial prisoners are poor and are from oppressed classes and hoped the latest Supreme Court order will provide such people some relief.

“According to NCRB data, 76 percent of all prisoners are under trial. Of the under trials, 27 percent are illiterate, and 41 percent had dropped out before Class X. What does this mean? That most under trial prisoners are poor and most likely from among the oppressed classes,” he said in a series of tweets.

“The legal system is so distorted that only the poor languish in jail without a trial and without bail,” he said. The former union minister said in Jammu and Kashmir, the proportion of under trials is 91 percent. “I am certain most of them are in prison on charges — yet unproved — of instigating or indulging in violence. Let’s see if the latest Supreme Court order will bring relief to these poor, hapless prisoners,” P Chidambaram said.

The Supreme Court on Friday observed that some “out of the box” thinking is required to unclog jails and reduce the burden of criminal cases in courts. A bench of Justice S K Kaul and M M Sundress, which was hearing matters relating to the pendency of appeals in criminal cases for a long, observed that clogging of trial courts by criminal cases is an important aspect.

The apex court had last week expressed displeasure over the long delays in hearing bail applications of convicted prisoners pending their appeals.

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