Majority prisoners in India are undertrials; accounts for 62 per cent of total prison population

In terms of undertrials, UP logged the highest number of prisoners with 80,267 followed by Bihar with 44,113 and Madhya Pradesh with 31,695.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

NEW DELHI: Undertrial prisoners account for 62% of India’s total prison population against the world average of 18-20%. Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, has the highest number of convicted prisoners, followed by Madhya Pradesh and Bihar.

In terms of undertrials, UP logged the highest number of prisoners with 80,267 followed by Bihar with 44,113 and Madhya Pradesh with 31,695. The figures are up to March 31, 2020. Majority of undertrials were in the age group 18-30, followed by 30-50 and 50 and above.

Due to the high pendency rates in courts, the share of undertrials confined in prison for more than one year, more than three years and more than five years has increased substantially. The Supreme Court has on many occasions said that undertrials should not be subjected to incarceration only for the reason of non-furnishing of bail bonds.

Last year, the top court in said, “While deprivation of personal liberty for some period may not be avoidable, the period of deprivation pending trial/appeal cannot be unduly long. At the same time, timely delivery of justice is part of human rights and denial of speedy justice is a threat to public confidence in judiciary.”

There are 1,339 prisons in this country, and approximately 4,66,084 inmates inhabit those. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the occupancy rate of Indian prisons is 117.6%, and in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Sikkim, the occupancy rate is as high as 176.5% and 157.3%, respectively.

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