Sheikh Pervez Hameed

A passionate India loving Indian, delighting in its glory yet not blind to its follies, shortcomings and dark side.

Better India - Single Line Solution - Under trials in India and right of prisoners in India.

Under trials in India

Nearly 1.2 billion people live in India. The diversity of this country is staggering and managing India is a big issue. One of the reasons that India has still stayed together instead of disintegrating is its judicial system.

But India's judicial system gets much criticism for justifying the truism "Justice delayed is justice denied". The oft cited reason for delays given is the huge number of cases pending at various levels in the Indian courts.

Here below I offer a solution to partly alleviate this backlog.

It is the issue of under trials in India. Briefly, a person is accused of a crime and is put behind bars. He still not convicted. The problem is that his case does not come up frequently enough to be speedily disposed of. The reason? Backlog of cases! Under trials outnumber convicted inmates. 70% of inmates in Tihar jail are under trials. National average is about 66%.

This often results in that the accused, often from abject poverty stricken strata of the society, is made to languish in Indian jails beyond the maximum term of prison sentence possible under the act he has been booked under.

This is gross injustice on many counts:

  1. As a citizen, he has been denied his fundamental right of honourable and just hearing.
  2. The family suffers.
  3. Goes against our justice system motto "Innocent till proven guilty"
  4. Taxpayers money wasted on an unjust detention.
  5. Instead of reforming them the system makes them hardened criminals.

Single line solution: The Parliament legislates a single line act that the jailer is empowered to release immediately the under trial as soon as the period of imprisonment specified under the act that he has been accused of, is over in the jail.



After his release, the accused can pursue the judiciary to seek justice and if he is proven to be innocent, then the government pays him a compensation. It is as simple as that and will free the courts of many cases.


The facts are disturbing and reproduced below:

  • 3.2 crores cases pending in high Courts and subordinate courts across the country at the end of 2011. (2.65 crores and subordinate courts)
  • 56,383 cases pending in the Supreme Court of India. (Nearly 40% less than one year old)
  • 74% of these cases pending were less than five-year-old.
  • 2.5 lakh under trials languishing in jails of which nearly 2000 are in jail for the last five years.

The average disposal of all Indian high courts is about 2400 cases per year. Compare it with the national average of disposal of cases per judge per year in major high courts: Kerala, 3,103;Madras, 2,979;Calcutta, 2,919;Punjaband Haryana, 2,900; Karnataka 2,817 and Andhra Pradesh, 2,625.
Source Pending Cases and Undertrials

The Supreme Court has said the same thing in its order. Undertrials can’t be kept in jail forever: SC

An efficient judicial system will make India a better place as envisioned by our forefathers who drafted the Constitution of India.

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