Ensure default bail rights for undertrial prisoners, says Delhi High Court

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has asked the jail authorities and Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to ensure that the rights of undertrial prisoners to seek default bail are not defeated and that the custody of an undertrial is not extended mechanically.

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri made this observation while dealing with a revised petition which challenged the dismissal of an application seeking default bail under Section 167(2) CrPC by a metropolitan magistrate.

“While extending the custody of an undertrial prisoner, the court shall not mechanically extend the period of custody for the maximum period of 15 days as prescribed under Section 167(2) Cr.P.C,” said the order. 
Court sought response from the Registrar General and Director General of Prisons on steps being undertaken regarding undertrial prisoners bail. 

“Considering the seriousness of the issue involved, this court deems it apposite to seek a response from the Registrar General as well the DG (Prisons) on the steps being undertaken. The undertrial should be informed of his right to seek ‘default bail’ and that such right is not defeated but rather timely exercised,” the court said. Sandeep Goel DG (Prisons), there are 16,500 undertrial prisoners. During lockdown, 3,942 undertrial prisoners were released on interim bail. 

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