Prisoners released on CM’s 43rd birthday
Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s 43rd birthday on Friday will bring cheers to around 80 prisoners as they will be released as a goodwill gesture.
Of these, a dozen of them are more than 70 years of age and langusihing in jail for over 20 years for their inability to pay the fine imposed,
Prison minister Balwant Singh Ramuwalia said that these prisoners who have secured bail from court but are unable to pay surety and hence languishing in jail, will be released on July 1 as a 'good gesture' on the occasion of the CM's birthday.
Ramuwalia did not give the exact number of inmates to be released but said that the number would be over 80. Of these, one is over 92 years while another is 84 years of age and have been in jail for several decades now.
“There were some legal complications in releasing these prisoners. We have brushed aside these complications and decided to release them after taking permmission from court,” Ramuwalia told 'The Pioneer' on Thursday.
Government officials admitted that jails in UP are overcrowded. An official said that against the prescribed capacity to keep 48,970 prisoners, the jails have 84228 inmates which is 172 per cent of its capacity.
The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) said that all Indian jails were facing the same problem In its report, the NCRB said that while the available capacity is 3,43,169 across India, the total inmate population is much higher and stands at 3, 85,135 which makes the occupancy rate 112.2 per cent.
The Jail minister said that the reasons for overcrowding of jails could be many like prisoners not getting bail. But in 70 per cent cases, inmates were still in jail because they failed to pay the fine or could not furnish surety bonds as asked.
In 2013 a similar case came to light when a woman was incarcerated for 19 years despite getting bail from the court. Her son managed the money and moved the High court to free his mother. Such informations were avaiulable with the government but officials can not help due to the judicial process involved in it.
Stamp Registration minister in the Akhilesh Yadav government Raghuraj Pratap Singh, also called Raja Bhaiya, had rescued Jai Ram Saber, a tribal, from jail. A native of Kalahandi in Odisa, Saber was working as a pharmacist with a quack in Rampur who was murdered in 1989 and he was set up by the police.
He procured a bail in 1992 but did not have money to pay two sureties of Rs 8,000 and hence languished in jail. Raja Bhaiya paid the surety and freed him in 2010. He now works as a caretaker of Raja Bhaiya’s house in Lucknow.
Lenin Raghuvanshi of People’s Vigilance Committee of Human Rights (PVCHR) said that 90 per cent of undertrials are poor and do not have access to lawyers.
“Have you ever seen a rich businessman or powerful politician languishing in jail for long. No. They have money and can turn the case on its head and roam free while an innocent poor languishes in jail,” he said.
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