ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

The Forgotten Ones

Only a strict monitoring system can abolish the misery of India's under-trial prisoners.

Eight years ago Section 436A was inserted in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), following what was considered a landmark amendment that had been passed in 2005. If under-trial prisoners had been in detention for more than half the term that would be awarded if they were convicted and if the crimes did not warrant life imprisonment or the death penalty, they would have to be freed. It was hoped then that tens of thousands of undertrials in India’s prisons – many of them behind bars for years without witnessing even a day’s trial – would be able to walk free. This “radical” amendment, however, has remained on paper.

Now the Supreme Court has ordered the implementation of Section 436A in response to a public interest litigation (PIL). Once again hopes have been raised that the ruling will bring freedom to those languishing in prison for an interminably long period without their trial being completed. Just a week before the Court’s directive on 5 September, there were media reports that the Ministry of Home Affairs had initiated measures towards implementing Section 436A. Will this renewed attempt at the gargantuan changes needed in India’s criminal judicial system bear fruit this time around?

Dear Reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here


To gain instant access to this article (download).

Pay INR 50.00

(Readers in India)

Pay $ 6.00

(Readers outside India)

Back to Top