06, Oct 2015
By: Express News Service | Published:October 5, 2015 12:02 am
The National Crime Records Bureau figures for 2014 point to a problem that is still with us: almost 68 per cent of the inmates of India’s overflowing prisons are undertrials, and 70 per cent of those convicted are illiterate.
Affluent states like Goa, Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana top the list of states with the highest percentage of undertrials who have been in prison for more than three months. Notably, 21.1 per cent of undertrials in jails are Muslim, even as their percentage among convicts is only 16.4 per cent, closer to the community’s composition in the country’s population. These statistics are yet more confirmation that India’s criminal justice system remains grossly inefficient and blatantly prejudiced against the minorities and the poor. The cost of justice is kept prohibitively high by infrastructural flaws and deficiencies, while unreformed mindsets operating in a setting of poorly institutionalised norms contribute to the entrenched prejudices.