Inmates of the Nagpur Central Prison of Maharashtra have begun an indefinite Hunger Strike from 30th January 2014. At least 177 undertrial prisoners including 7 women (those charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act, for murder, etc.) have participated in the strike. It is a settled principle in law and also directive of the apex court of this country that “bail is the rule and jail is an exception”. However, despite repeated directives from the Supreme Court to grant bail at the earliest and that the gravity of the charge should not be the reason for considering bail, the opposite is implemented in practice.
The prison population is growing due to an ever increasing number of undertrial prisoners are languishing in Jail while their families and friends continue with their futile anxious wait outside. Under trial prisoners are thus deprived of their constitutional right to bail, physical attendance in courts and a fair and speedy trial due to indefinite lingering of bail decisions, procrastinated trials and trial by video conferencing. The move towards camera trials distances these prisoners further from their lawyers, the court, their ability to present their own case. It will only continue their sequestration in prisons. It is for these reasons, we inmates of the Nagpur prison see no alternative but to go ahead with an indefinite Hunger Strike till the demands are achieved.
A memorandum including the following demands has been sent to Honorable Principal Judge of Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) and others through The Superintendent of the Nagpur Central Prison Nagpur on 20th January 2014:
1. The directives of Honorable Supreme Court that “Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception” should be implemented as a principle regarding bail and bail should be granted within a definite time period.
2. After a charge sheet is filed, even those undertials charged with supposedly serious crimes should also be granted bail.
3. In order to establish the right of fair and speedy trial. The Judgment should be given within a relatively definite and reasonable time period. If the case is pending due to some unavoidable reasons then bail should be granted, especially to those undertrial prisoners whose bails have been refused earlier.
4. The right to a fair trial cannot be established through Video Conference (V.C.) method so this should not be an option during trial and an undertrial prisoner must be physically produced before their respective courts during trial. Friends, we are committed to sit on an indefinite hunger strike till our demands achieved. The success of our struggle cannot be achieved without your solidarity and active support from outside. So we humbly and hopefully appeal that you kindly extend your support in our favour.
Please send letters and Fax messages to the following authorities urging them to meet our just and fair demands.
Nagpur Central Prison:
Fax No. 0712-2420679 Registrar, Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench:
Fax No. 0712- 2560280, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission:
Phone & Fax No.: 91 22 22092857
1] Sudhir Dhawale
2] Diwakar Jha
3] Gautam Pillewan and other undertrial prisoners of Nagpur Central Prison.