The Supreme Court bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and AS Oka issued detailed guidelines on the issue guidelines to avoid delay in release of undertrial prisoners, who though getting bail, are into the custody owing to the non-fulfilment of the conditions as stated in the bail order or otherwise.
The directions issued by the bench is as under:
1) The Court which grants bail to an undertrial prisoner/convict would be required to send a soft copy of the bail order by e-mail to the prisoner through the Jail Superintendent on the same day or the next
day. The Jail Superintendent would be required to enter the date of grant of bail in the e-prisons software for any other software which is being used by the Prison Department).
2) If the accused is not released within a period of 7 days from the date of grant of bail, it would be the duty of the Superintendent of Jail to inform the Secretary, DLSA who may depute para legal volunteer or jail visiting advocate to interact with the prisoner and assist the prisoner in all ways possible for his release.
3) NIC would make attempts to create necessary fields in the e-prison software so that the date of grant of bail and date of release are entered by the Prison Department and in case the prisoner is not released within 7 days, then an automatic email can be sent to the Secretary, DLSA.
4) The Secretary, DLSA with a view to find out the economic condition of the accused, may take help of the Probation Officers or the Para Legal Volunteers to prepare a report on the socio-economic conditions of the inmate which may be placed before the concerned Court with a request to relax the condition (s) of bail/surety.
5) In cases where the undertrial or convict requests that he can furnish bail bond or sureties once released, then in an appropriate case, the Court may consider granting temporary bail for a specified period to the accused so that he can furnish bail bond or sureties.
6) If the bail bonds are not furnished within one month from the date of grant bail, the concerned Court may suo moto take up the case and consider whether the conditions of bail require modification/ relaxation.
7) One of the reasons which delays the release of the accused/ convict is the insistence upon local surety. It is suggested that in such cases, the courts may not impose the condition of local surety.
The above directions are part of the detailed and comprehensive suggestions submitted to court by the three Amici Curiae viz. Advocates Gaurav Agrawal, Liz Mathew and Devansh A. Mohta, after discussion with ASG K. M. Nataraj.