NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday urged the judiciary to speed up the release of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails as well as those awaiting legal aid, stressing ease of justice is as important as ease of doing business and ease of living. “As important as access to the judicial system is for any society, justice delivery is equally important.
The judicial infrastructure also has an important contribution to this. In the past eight years, work has been done at a fast pace to strengthen the judicial infrastructure of the country,” Modi said. He was addressing the inaugural session of the first All India District Legal Services Authorities meet in New Delhi in the presence of Chief Justice of India Justice N V Ramana and Supreme Court judges U U Lalit and D Y Chandrachud Modi urged district judges, who are chairpersons of Undertrial Review Committees, to hasten the release of the undertrial prisoners awaiting legal aid.
Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who was also present at the meet, said the National Legal Services Authority has launched a campaign to identify undertrial prisoners eligible for release and recommend their cases to review committees. According to the ‘Prison Statistics India’ report published by the National Crime Records Bureau in 2020, of the 4.88 lakh prison inmates in India, as many as 3.71 lakh were undertrials. Underlining India’s leadership in the fields of IT and fintech, the PM stressed that there can’t be a better time to introduce the power of technology to judicial proceedings.
“Under the e-Courts mission, virtual courts are being started in the country. 24-hour courts have started functioning for crimes like traffic violations. Video conferencing infrastructure is also being expanded in the courts for the convenience of people,” he said. The PM said over one crore cases have been heard through e-conferencing. This proves the country’s judicial system is committed to the ancient values of justice and also ready to match the 21st-century realities.