Free the Undertrials: Prime Minister Modi Urges States to Take Action

2 min read

Bringing attention to the issue of the large number of undertrial prisoners nationwide, Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized on Saturday that the majority of them are from impoverished or ordinary families, and urged states to grant them bail whenever possible. According to the most recent data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for 2020, approximately 76% of all prison inmates in the country were undertrials, with about 68% being either illiterate or school dropouts.

Out of the total 488,511 prison inmates, 371,848 were identified as undertrials. Among them, approximately 20% were Muslims, while about 73% were Dalits, tribals, or OBCs.

Jammu and Kashmir (JK) had the highest proportion of undertrials in jails at 91%, followed by Bihar and Punjab at 85%, and Odisha at 83% (see chart).

Around 27% of all undertrials were found to be illiterate, and 41% had dropped out before Class X.

Despite making up 14% of the population, Muslims accounted for about 20% of the total undertrials and 17% of all convicts.

Dalits, constituting 16.6% of India’s population, represented about 21% of all undertrials and convicts.

Tribals, making up 8.6% of India’s population, comprised about 10% of all undertrials and 14% of all convicts.

OBCs, accounting for 41% of the total population (NSSO data), made up about 42% of the total undertrials and 37% of all convicts.

The data revealed that about 30% of all undertrials remained in jail for over a year, while 65% were not released before three months.

Approximately 50% of all undertrials were charged with “offences against human body”, including crimes like murder, attempted murder, rape, dowry deaths, kidnapping, and assault. About 20% were charged with “offences against property”, such as theft, burglary, and housebreaking.

Of all undertrials, 283,556 (76%) were charged with offences under the Indian Penal Code, while the rest were charged under Special and Local Laws (SLL), including the Arms Act, Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act, and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Around 60% of undertrials charged under SLL were held for liquor and drug offences.

“A poor man remains in jail for over a year without trial for minor offences such as theft, as many inmates can’t even afford the bail amount, let alone hiring a lawyer,” said a senior IPS officer.

You May Also Like

More From Author

+ There are no comments

Add yours