The HPTDC) chairman hoped that the Union government would respond to the concerns of the state that suffered losses to the tune of Rs 12,000 crore.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has finalised the broad contours of the scheme under which the Centre will provide financial support to State Governments to extend financial relief to poor prisoners who are unable to avail bail or get released due to non-payment of fines.
The MHA said on Friday that consultations on the scheme were held with concerned stakeholders. The scheme “Support for Poor Prisoners” is provided in the Union Budget, 2023-24 as part of the “reaching the last mile” guideline.
A majority of the poor prisoners belong to socially disadvantaged or marginalized groups with low education and income levels. The scheme envisages provision of required financial support to poor persons who are in prisons and unable to afford the penalty or the bail amount.
To further strengthen the process, technology driven solutions will be put in place to ensure that benefits reach the poor prisoners. The E-prisons platform is being reinforced, the District Legal Services Authority system is being strengthened, while sensitization and capacity building of stakeholders is being undertaken to ensure that quality legal aid is available to the needy prisoners.
The MHA has been taking various steps to address the issue of growing number of undertrials in prisons from time to time. These include insertion of Section 436A in the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) and insertion of a new chapter XXIA (Plea Bargaining) in the CrPC.
Free legal aid is provided to poor prisoners through Legal Services Authorities at various levels.
Prisons are an important part of the criminal justice system, and play a significant role in upholding the rule of law. The MHA has been sharing important guidelines with State Governments through various advisories issued from time to time.
The MHA has also been providing financial support to the State Governments for enhancing and modernizing the security infrastructure in prisons.