SALEM: Over 40 per cent of the prisoners released by the Prison Adalat on Sunday were remanded on Saturday night for petty offences like indulgence in public nuisance, petty quarrels, fights, gambling and drunken driving.
The Prison Adalat was conducted at Salem Central Jail as per the High Court’s directive to hear and release remand prisoners languishing in prisons without further legal process.
On Saturday night, each police station coming under the Salem City Police jurisdiction reportedly made about 10 to 25 arrests. About 218 persons were reportedly arrested in City Poice jurisdiction police station limits.
They were remanded in judicial custody on Saturday night only to be released Sunday by the Prison Adalat.
While human rights activists questioned the fairness behind the last minute arrests while many were languishing in prisons due to procedural glitches, the Deputy Commissioner of Police S.Prabakaran clarified that arrests of petty criminals went on for a week before the adalat. “All were real offenders and they included prohibition offenders also. Those arrested on Saturday night were also real offenders and no false charges were made,” he said.
Almost 60 per cent of those who got orders for release by the adalat were petty offenders arrested long back. Their files were not closed due to various reasons and the fit cases for release in the adalat were identified by the respected police stations which arrested them. However, about forty per cent released were those who were booked during the week, said the Deputy Commissioner.
According to Central Prison Superintendent, 416 remand prisoners were released on Sunday by the adalat. Out of this, 213 were arrested by the district police. A fine of `1,42,000 was collected from the released prisoners.