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Undertrial women prisoners data still being collected, HC told

The Maharashtra government has informed the Bombay High Court that it was still in the process of collecting information from jails across the state regarding undertrial prisoners especially women, their children and mentally ill inmates.

The High Court had earlier this month issued suomoto (on its own) notice to the government regarding the issue of rights of undertrial women prisoners, their children and those who are mentally disabled.

Additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamat-Pai informed a division bench headed by Justice P V Hardas that of the total 39 prisons in the state, information has been collected from 23 jails. “We should finish collection data in about three weeks,” she said.

The court had taken cognisance of the issue in February after a Supreme Court order in December 2014 which directed all high courts to examine the ‘rights of prisoners especially females and children with them.’

One R D Upadhyay had filed a Special Leave Petition in the apex court to highlight the plight of undertrial prisoners languishing in jails without trial for long periods.

The SC order, passed by a full bench of three judges, had stated, “While examining the issue touching the rights of under trial prisoners especially females and the children with them, the high courts may also examine the question relating to rights of mentally challenged undertrials and convicts, and issue appropriate directions.

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