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Delhi HC seeks response of State govt and DSLA on large number of under-trial prisoners lodged in jails in the NCT are unable to avail legal remedies

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New Delhi, Oct 5 (ILNS) The Delhi High Court sought the response from the Delhi Government and the Delhi State Legal Services Authority in a plea alleging that a large number of under-trial prisoners lodged in jails in the national capital are unable to avail the legal remedies available to them on account of non-availability of case documents including a copy of the First Information Report, Chargesheet, evidence recorded before Trial Court and relevant court orders.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice D.N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued a notice in the plea by the empanelled lawyer of the Delhi High Court Legal Service Committee (DHCLSC) and posted the matter for the next hearing on November 29, 2021.
The petition has been filed by Advocate Alok Tripathi, who has been attending the inmates of Tihar jail, highlighting the plight of several Under Trial Prisoners who have been incapacitated to move bail applications on the pretext of lack of sufficient means to procure a copy of the case documents.
“Such UTPs are so precariously entangled that neither there is any progress in their trial nor have they been able to avail their remedy of filing bail applications before the Courts which is a serious infringement of their fundamental right to seek remedies provided under law,” states the plea.
Furthermore, the plea challenges a circular issued by the Delhi State Legal Service Authority on January 7, 2019, which restricts the inmates to obtain a copy of their documents and puts a complete bar on the UTPs having private counsels to obtain a certified copy of documents.
The plea points out that a representation was made before the Delhi State Legal Services Authority on July 27, 2021, highlighting the above concern. however, no action has been taken on the representation to date.
In light of the above, the plea seeks a direction to provide the under trial prisoners a copy of the case documents including FIR, Chargesheet, evidence or other trial court records. In addition, the plea seeks a direction for sending the copy of the ‘First Information Report’ to the jail if and when the accused is sent to judicial custody.
The plea also prays for devising a mechanism to scan and upload the case documents of UTPs on the website of District Courts; as also a direction to the trial courts to upload the copy of recorded evidence and daily order sheets as and when recorded on their respective websites. 
The plea inter alia seeks to quash of circular issued by DSLSA inasmuch as it prohibits the UTPs having private counsel to obtain the certified copy of the documents; as also a direction to put the said circular in abeyance till complete resumption of the physical functioning of the court, and the UTPs are allowed to attend their matters physically.
Citing that the Covid-19 pandemic has restricted functioning of the court, the plea thus reads:“Trial of UTPs is not likely to proceed for further time of 5-6 months, thereby keeping the UTPs in jail for a further period of time without having any remedy of filing bail applications…..is a serious infringement oi their fundamental right enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”
“The trial in the matters is not progressing due to the circumstances beyond the control and as such, the UTPs cannot be withheld to pursue legal remedies available under law till the indefinite period of time,” adds the plea./ILNS/KR/SNG/

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