HYDERABAD: Human rights activist Prof G Haragopal filed a public interest litigation in the Hyderabad High Court on Thursday with a plea to enlarge the life convicts on bail, who have undergone two years of sentence and were lodged in Cherlapally Central prison and other jails in AP and Telangana states.
He submitted that most of the appeals of the criminals are pending before the High Court without adjudication on merit thereby infringing the right of speedy trial as guaranteed under the fundamental rights of the Constitution of India.
Quoting a Supreme Court judgment, Haragopal said that the state cannot avoid its constitutional obligation to provide speedy trial to the accused by pleading financial or administrative inability. The state is under a constitutional mandate to ensure speedy trial. It is also the constitutional obligation of the High Court to enforce the fundamental right of the accused to speedy trial by issuing necessary directions to the state which include taking of positive action such as augmenting and strengthening the investigative machinery, setting up new courts, providing required staff etc.
He further said that the average imprisonment in respect of life convicts, whose appeals were allowed is three to four years, and in some cases the convicts have spent about five years of imprisonment. Some of the life convicts whose criminal appeals are pending have been afflicted with severe ailments due to prolonged confinement and incidents of death are taking place in the prison every year. Most of the life convicts, whose criminal appeals are pending are suffering from adverse health conditions.
Stating that there are 379 appeals pending from 2008 to 2014, the petitioner sought the court to declare the action of the respondent authorities in not disposing off the criminal appeals filed by the life convicts as illegal and in gross violation of the rights guaranteed under Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.
The Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court, principal secretaries to home of AP and Telangana states and other authorities concerned were named as the respondents.