V.V.S. Rao, J.
1. These two Public Interest Litigation cases may conveniently be disposed of by a common order as they involve same questions of fact and law. An advocate, who is the President of A.P. Prison Reforms and Legal Aid Committee, filed WP No.32039 of 1998. He prayed for a direction to the State Government to appoint a High Level Commission headed by a sitting or retired High Court Judge, to visit and inspect all the prisons in the State and submit a report concerning the conditions of prisons and prisoners with suggestions as to remedial measures, and to direct the State Government to provide proper accommodation and sufficient vehicles and female police escort to transport female prisoners for the purpose of production in the trial Courts, and such other related prayers.
2. WP No.6919 of 1999 is filed by a Journalist and Social Worker praying for a declaration that the action of the respondents viz., Government of Andhra Pradesh, Director-General of Police, and the Inspector-General of Prisons, in not producing the various under trial prisoners (UT prisoners for brevity), before the trial Courts as unconstitutional and for other appropriate directions.
3. In WP No.6919 of 1999, the petitioner states that, as a journalist, he came to be interested in the UT prisoners, who remained lodged in prisons without being produced before the concerned Courts for want of police escort. The cases are being adjourned from time to time for non-production of the UT prisoners. Therefore, the petitioner addressed a letter to the 2nd respondent on 30-1-1999 to know the response of the respondents. The 2nd respondent by letter dated 10-2-1999 informed the petitioner that the State Level Review Committee for UT prisoners in its meeting held on 21-8-1998 proposed to create additional police force to perform the escort duty, and that the decision of the Government in that behalf is awaited, and that for want of police escort, the UT prisoners could not be produced before the Courts.
4. The Additional Inspector-General of Prisons, filed counter-affidavit on behalf of the 2nd respondent inter alia stating that as on 3-7-1999, there are 9,797 UT prisoners in the Slate, constituting 70 to 80% of the total prison population, which are over-populated. As per Rule 10(i) of the Andhra Pradesh Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) Rules, 1977, it is the duty of the Department of Police to provide escort to the prisoners attending the Courts. As and when the prisoners are required to be produced before the Court, the Superintendent of Prisons, requests the District/Local/City Police to provide police escort. Due to inadequate strength of police escort, the prisoners could not be produced in the Courts at all times on the dates of hearing. For the twin cities of Hyderabad-Secunderabad, the Government sanctioned three platoons of armed police, which itself is not sufficient to produce all the prisoners in the Central Prisons and jails in twin cities, resulting in non-production of the UT prisoners in the Courts. The counter-affidavit of the 2nd respondent also states that the State Level Review Committee for UT prisoners, consisting of high officials in its meeting held on 21-8-1998 visualised the problem and recommended to create seven additional platoon's of police, one each at the Central Prisons of Cuddapah, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada and Warangal and three District Jails at Guntur, Nellore and Vijayawada. Accordingly, the Department of Prisons sent proposals to the Government for sanctioning the said additional platoons at a total cost of Rs.3.80 crores, and that orders of the Government in that behalf are awaited.
5. The 1st respondent filed counter-affidavit through its Principal Secretary to Government in Home Department. While, reiterating the averments, which were already made by the 2nd respondent, the 1st respondent states that with a view to reduce the over-crowding of UT prisoners in the prisons, the matter is being periodically reviewed by the Government, the Director-General of Police, and Inspector-General of Prisons, and concerted efforts are being made to make available escort personnel for production of UT prisoners before the Courts. Towards this goal, the Government also sanctioned three platoons of armed police personnel, exclusively for the purpose of providing escort to the UT prisoners of Central Prisons in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The 1st respondent also states that in view of the financial position, the State Government is not able to agree to the proposal/recommendation made by the State Level Review Committee for UT prisoners on 21-8-1998. However, detailed instructions were issued on 22-2-1999 to the 2nd respondent and 3rd respondent to improve the position of provision of escorts. Further, the 3rd respondent issued a Circular on 29-5-1999 instructing the District Superintendents of Police to entrust to the Superintendent of Police, the duty of co-ordination of police escort to UT prisoners, who is to properly utilise the man-power, draw maximum strength of escort for the prisoners and also decide the cases where escort is being provided on day to day basis with a view to promptly produce the UT prisoners before the concerned Courts.
6. WP No.32039 of 1998 complains about over-crowding of prisons, non-provision of lady escort police when women prisoners are produced before the Courts, and other allegations are the same. The counter-affidavit, filed by the Assistant Secretary to Government in Home Department, on behalf of the respondents, denies that the conditions in the Jails in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and other prisons in the State are in worst condition. The Government allocated Rs.411 lakhs under the 10th Finance Commission, providing for repairs to the existing buildings, water facilities and sanitation, and that the works were started in 1997 and are likely to be completed by 31-3-2000. In addition to this, the Government sanctioned funds for construction of more prison buildings, cells and hospitals wherever necessary, and therefore, after construction of the proposed buildings, the over-crowding in the jails would be reduced. Proper medical facilities have been provided in all the jails with regular Medical Officers, Pharmacists and Male Nursing Officers. As a measure of reforms, of the Government has ordered payment of wages to the prisoners for the work they do in the prisons, besides providing TV, indoor Games, Library for their recreation. As per Rule 27 of the Prison Rules, 1979, 'non-official' visitors are appointed in all the Jails for making suggestions for providing better facilities to the prisoners. The High Court has also directed the District and Sessions Judges to visit the jails in their respective jurisdictions and submit report. After receiving the reports, the Department has implemented the suggestions made by the District Judges, and therefore, there is no necessity to appoint any Committee.
7. As the matter is of importance, involving the 'liberty' of large number of citizens, this Court requested Sri S. Ramachandra Rao, learned senior Counsel, and Sri M.S. Ramachandra Rao, a learned advocate, to assist the Court of amicus curiae. Both the Counsel, who assisted the Court in an admirable manner, submitted that the detention of the citizens as UT prisoners without producing them before the Courts for the purpose of trial would result in the violation of fundamental right to speedy trial guaranteed by the Constitution of India under Article 21. Both the Counsel therefore made a fervent plea to this Court to enlarge the scope of the writ petition and pass appropriate orders, not only for expeditious trial of the long pending cases but also issue directions to release the UT prisoners where they have been kept as such for unduly long period. Therefore, on 7-2-2000, this Court issued directions as under:
"..... The learned Government Pleader shall famish details regarding the under trial prisoners lodged in various jails in the State including Central Prisons, Sub-Jails etc., with respect to their date of detention, date of remand to the judicial custody, the offence with which they were charged, number of times they were produced in Court, number of times they were not produced, the maximum punishment for the offence, the reasons for their non-production in Courts etc. The information shall be furnished with respect to all the under trial prisoners lodged in various jails in the State."
8. The learned Additional Advocate-General submitted the voluminous statements containing the particulars if UT prisoners in the State. These details are furnished for a total number of UT prisoners numbering about 9800. After considering the statement, which is by all standards, very bulky (about 400 pages), on 18-4-2000 we passed the following order:
"The learned Additional Advocate-General is directed to come forward with the following information tomorrow
(1) List of under-trial prisoners who are required to be released forthwith.
(2) List of under-trial prisoners in whose cases any medical aid or specific order is required; and
(3) List of under-trial prisoners in whose cases for further detention specific order by the concerned Sessions Judge is required.
The above information shall be furnished to the Court keeping in view the nature of offences committed by the under-trial prisoners lodged in various jails in the State and the maximum sentence that they have to undergo in case they are convicted."
9. When the case was called on 19-4-2000, the learned Additional Advocate-General, Sri K. Prakash Reddy, did not submit the information as directed by this Court, but filed a statement showing the particulars of 647 UT prisoners remanded from A.P. Prohibition Act, 1995 (378), A.P. Exercise Act, 1968 (196), Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 (2), A.P. (Andhra) Gambling Act, 1930 (13), A.P. Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act (44), Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, (20), A.P. Forest Act, 1967 (3). The learned Additional Advocate-General, prayed for time. As the matter is pending before this Court since June, 1999 we refused adjournment. We heard learned amicus curiae and the learned Additional Advocate-General.
10. After perusing the entire material we ourselves arrived at the following figures:
Statement showing the number of UT prisoners detained in various prisons for offences punishable with imprisonment up to one year, 1-3 years, 4-7 years and mare than 7 years.
Prison One year 1-3 yrs. 4-7 yrs. More than 7 yrs. Total __________________________________________________________________
Central Prison 72 1026 357 1618 3073
District Prison 28 524 377 1160 2089
Sub-Jails 230 1025 451 1835 3541
Total 330 2575 1185 4613 8703
Statement showing the number of UT Prisoners detained in various prisons
Prison One year 1-3 yrs. 3-5 yrs. 5-7 yrs. More than 7 yrs. __________________________________________________________________
Central Prison 2810 186 10 7 2
District Prison 200 81 7 10 3
Sub-Jails 3512 65 10 _ _
No. of persons detained for the period more than the sentence : 11 No. of persons detained in all prisons who are involved in Multiple cases : 250
Statement showing the particulars of UT Prisoners in various jails not produced in Courts for want of police escort
Prison 0-5 times 6-10 times 11-15 times 16-20 times 20 times and above __________________________________________________________________
Central 1077 200 78 34 63
District 117 10 4 - -
Sub-Jails 101 24 2 - 1
11. The learned amicus curiae has filed charts showing the particulars of the maximum punishment prescribed under the law, the date of arrest of the UT prisoner, the total period suffered as UT prisoner and how many times the authorities did not produce them before the Courts. Based on the statements the learned senior Counsel submits that there are large number of instances where the UT prisoners were not produced before the Court for want of sufficient police escort, which in some cases, has either resulted in the UT prisoners being detained for unduly longer period or in detaining them in excess of the maximum period of sentence, prescribed. The law recognises that all the prisoners have enforceable fundamental rights, except that their right to liberty is curtailed. All the prisoners have right to life with human dignity. It is inhuman to detain the citizens as under trials without speedy trial and without the benefit of 'bail'. Therefore, the learned senior Counsel would submit that under Article 226 of the Constitution of India this Court has ample power and it is the duty of the Court to pass necessary orders for the speedy trial as well as for release of such of those UT prisoners who remained in jail for longer period than the maximum sentence or for longer period which is substantial period of sentence. He relied on the various judgments of the Supreme Court in Hussainara Khatoon (I) v. State of Bihar, , Hussainara Khatoon (II) v. Home State of Bihar, , Hussainara Khatoon (III) v. State of Bihar,
, D. Bhuvan Mohan Patnaik v. State ofA.P.,
, Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration, AIR 1978 SC 1675, Francis Coralie Mullin v. Union Territory of Delhi, AIR 1981 SC 746, Rama Murthy v. State of Karnataka, , Common Cause (I) v. Union of India, , Common Cause (II) v. Union of India, , Raj Deo Sharma (I) v. State of Bihar,
and Raj Deo Sharma (II) v. State of Bihar,
12. The learned amicus curiae submits that the Court may consider the following:
(1) To hold detention of all under trial prisoners without production before the concerned Court as unconstitutional violating the fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 21 and 22 of the Constitution of India.
(2) To direct release of UT prisoners who are detained for more than three months and not produced for two times on bail on execution of personal bond.
(3) To direct release of UT prisoners who are detained for more than one year facing charges of offences punishable with death/imprisonment for life of twenty years under the Narcotics Drugs Act on bail on execution of personal bond.
(4) In respect of those prisoners who do not fall under the categories (3) and (4), to direct the concerned lower Court to complete the trial within three months failing which "they be released on bail on executing a personal bond; and
(5) To pay compensation to such of those prisoners who are unjustly detained in the prisons without production before the concerned Courts.
13. The learned Additional Advocate-General, Sri K. Prakash Reddy, submits that the concerned Magistrates may consider those of the UT prisoners who are remanded under the various Acts other than Indian Penal Code for release on bail or discharge. He further submits that the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Common Cause and Raj Deo Sharma cases have to be read in the light of the subsequent judgment of the Supreme Court in Raj Deo Sharma (II)'s case (supra) and if the principles are applied, all the persons who are remanded for offences attracting the maximum punishment of 7 years and above cannot be ordered to be released on bail or discharge.
14. The only point that arises for our consideration is whether the UT prisoners be ordered to be released on bail or they be directed to be discharged or acquitted by the concerned Court of Sessions or Court of Magistrate in the light of various decisions of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Common Cause and Raj Deo Sharma (I) (supra).
15. For the purpose of comprehension, we would tike to recapitulate the legal and constitutional aspects of the right to speedy trial. The International Bill of Human Rights comprising Universal Declaration of Human Rights, (U.N. Declaration for brevity), International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also deal with the rights of the offenders. India is a signatory to the U.N. Declaration as well as two International Covenants on social rights and political rights. Articles 3, 5, 9, 11 and 29 of U.N. Declaration guarantee humane treatment of persons charged with penal offences and ensures public trial of the offenders at which an offender will be given all guarantees necessary for the defence. Articles 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights obligate the signatory States to treat the accused and convict with humanity and respect for inherent dignity of human persons. Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights provides that every accused shall be entitled to be tried within reasonable time. The VI Amendment to US Constitution treats the right to speedy trial as a fundamental human right. Be that as it may, the Bill of Rights of Indian polity entrenched in Part III of the Constitution of India tacitly recognises enforceable fundamental right to speedy trial. This is no more 'res integra'.
16. Article 21 of the Constitution of India mandates that the right of life and liberty cannot be taken away except in accordance with the procedure established by law. The purposive and contextual interpretation of Article 21 of the Constitution by the Hon'ble Supreme Court has now established that the procedure, which does not provide for speedy trial cannot be regarded as reasonable, fair or just and, therefore, speedy trial is an integral and essential part of fundamental right to life, (see Hussainara Khatoon (I), State of Maharashtra v. Champalal Punjaji Shah , Abdul Rahman Antulay v. R.S. Nayak , and Kartar Singh v. State of Punjab, (1994) 3 SCC 569..
17. In Antulay's case (supra) a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court while reaffirming that fair, just and reasonable procedure implicit in Article 21 of the Constitution creates in an accused the right to speedy trial, emphasised that the said right encompasses all the stages, namely, the stage of investigation, inquiry, trial, appeal, revision and retrial and that no restricted view can be taken by the Court. As the learned Additional Advocate-General could not and has not disputed the Constitutional position vis-a-vis right to speedy trial of all the UT prisoners, we need not elucidate further.
18. After Hussainara Khaioon (I) (supra), there was a spurt of public interest litigation before the Supreme Court invoking epistolary jurisdiction of the Court by public-spirited citizens as well as the prisoners undergoing incarceration. All the subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court relied on the series of orders in Hussainara Khatoon's case (supra). The conspectus of the decisions/ orders in Hussainara case (supra) is as under:
(i) The right to speedy trial is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
(ii) When the trial is not completed expeditiously within a reasonable time, it is unconstitutional to keep the untried detenu in the gaol. Therefore, the UT Prisoners should be informed of their rights under Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and should be released on personal bond keeping the amount of the bond at a reasonable quantity depending on the individual's socio-economic background.
(iii) The State cannot avoid its constitutional obligation to provide speedy trial to accused by pleading financial or administrative inability.
(iv) All the UT prisoners who have been in jail for periods longer than the maximum term for which they could have been sentenced if convicted should be released forthwith as "continuance of their detention is clearly illegal and in violation of their fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution."
(v) All the UT prisoners charged with bailable offences but were not released on bail as no application was made on their behalf, should be informed of their right to bail, provided with legal services on next remand dates at the cost of the State and if any application is made, the bail applications should be disposed of by taking persona! bond for a reasonable amount.
(vi) In the case of UT prisoners who are accused of multiple offences, if they have been in prison for a maximum term for which they could have been sentenced on conviction even if the sentences awarded to them were consecutive and not concurrent, should be released forthwith. The UT prisoners who are accused of multiple offences and who have been in jail for a period longer than the maximum punishment for which they could be sentenced on conviction, on the basis of the sentences being concurrent though the sentences were directed to run consecutively, could not be said to have exceeded the maximum term and, therefore, on furnishing persona! bond those UT prisoners accused of multiple offences should be released unconditionally.
19. Again in Common Cause (I), the Supreme Court issued 'directions to be valid for all States and Union Territories in India'. These include directions to release the UT prisoners who have been in jail exceeding certain period and where trial has not been completed on furnishing bail or personal bond and to discharge traffic offenders where the proceedings are pending for more than two years subject to same conditions. The Supreme Court, however, specifically stated that the benefit of release on bail or release on discharge shall not apply to cases of corruption, smuggling, Arms and Explosives, TADA etc. In Common Cause (II) these directions were modified.
20. In Ramamurthy's case (supra) the Supreme Court treated a letter addressed by a person of Central Jail, Bangalore as a writ petition and considered the question of over-crowding in jails, torture and ill-treatment of prisoners, the basic amenities to be provided to the prisoners and delay in trial. The Supreme Court referred to the earlier judgments of the Court in State of Maharashtra v. Prabhakar, , Suresh Chanra v. State of Gujarat,
, D.B.M. Pattnaik (supra), CharlesSobraj v. Supdt., Central jail, Tihar, , Sunil Batra (I) (supra), Prem Shankar v. Delhi Administration, , Sunil Batra (II) v. Delhi Administration, AIR 1980 SC 1579, Francis Coralie's (supra), Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee representing UT Prisoners v. Union of India, , Shaheen Welfare Association v. Union of India, , R.D. Upadhyay v. State of A.P.,
and Common Cause case (1) (supra), and observed that "the journey which commenced in 1966 has thus during the last 30 years planted many mile-stones. But there are still promises to keep and miles to go before one can sleep." It was also ordained that, "the directions issued in Common Cause (I) should be implemented".
21. The issue of release of UT prisoners for denying speedy trial again came up in Raj Deo Sharma (I) (supra). In this case, Raj Deo Sharma prayed quashing an FIR under Section 5(1)(c) and 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 on the ground of long delay. A Division Bench of the Supreme Court after referring to all the relevant judgments issued directions, in addition to and without prejudice to the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Common Cause (I). It is apposite to extract these directions:
(i) In cases where the trial is for an offence punishable with imprisonment for a period not exceeding seven years, whether the accused is in jail or not, the Court shall close the prosecution evidence on completion of a period of two years from the date of recording the plea of the accused on the charges framed whether the prosecution has examined all the witnesses or not within the said period and the Court can proceed to the next step provided by law for the trial of the case.
(ii) In such cases as mentioned above, if the accused has been in jail for a period of not less than one-half of the maximum period of punishment prescribed for the offence, the trial Court shall release the accused on bail forthwith on such conditions as it deems fit.
(iii) If the offence under trial is punishable with imprisonment for a period exceeding 7 years, whether the accused is in jail or not, the Court shall close the prosecution evidence on completion of three years from the date of recording the plea of the accused on the charge framed, whether the prosecution has examined all the witnesses or not within the said period and the Court can proceed to the next step provided by law for the trial of the case, unless for very exceptional reasons to be recorded and in the interest of justice the Court considers it necessary to grant further time to the prosecution to adduce evidence beyond the aforesaid time-limit.
(iv) But if the inability for completing the prosecution within the aforesaid period is attributable to the conduct of the accused in protracting the trial, no Court is obliged to close the prosecution evidence within the aforesaid period in any of the cases covered by clauses (i) to (iii).
(v) where the trial has been stayed by order of the Court or by operation of law, such time during which the stay was in force shall be excluded from the aforesaid period for closing the prosecution evidence...."
22. In Raj Deo Sharma (II), on a review application made by the CBJ, the Supreme Court clarified that the additional period of one year may be claimed by the prosecution in respect of prosecutions which are pending on the date of judgment in Raj Deo Sharma (I) and that the Court concerned would be free to grant such extension if the Court considers necessary in the interests of administration of criminal justice.
23. We would also like to briefly notice the legal position of the right of UT prisoners from the point of view of human rights after coming into force of The Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. "Human Rights" have not been defined in an objective manner. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 enumerated atleast 27 such broad rights, which are necessary for establishment of social and international order in which the rights and freedoms can be realised. In the Indian context, Part III of the Constitution and Part IV of the Constitution contain quite a number of rights, which may be termed as human rights. Some of these fundamental rights are akin to the rights enumerated in other International Treaties and Charters.
24. The Human Rights Act by clause (i) of Section 2 defines the International Covenants as meaning the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 16th December, 1966. The term "Human Rights" is defined in clause (d) of Section 2 to mean the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants and enforceable by Courts in India. In Hussainara Khatoon (I) (supra), the Supreme Court held that "expeditious trial and freedom from detention are part of human rights and basic freedoms." Therefore, it should be taken as well settled that denial of right to speedy trial and lengthy unconvicted detention violates fundamental right and human right. We, accordingly hold that denying speedy trial on the ground that the UT prisoners could not be produced before the Courts for want of adequate and sufficient police escort, violates the fundamental rights and human rights of UT prisoners under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
25. Nextly, we may dispose of the plea taken by the State, that the financial constraints of the State do not permit provision of adequate and sufficient police escort to take the prisoners to the Criminal Courts. A convicted person or an unconvicted remandee is deprived of liberty by the State's action. Therefore, it is the duty of the State to justify such deprivation because pre-trial "prison inmates depend upon the State for all aspects of their life". In the case of a convict, there is justification if the prisoner is detained for the required length of sentence period, but in the case of an unconvicted under-trial detention, which is of unfairly a longer period, cannot satisfy the 'reasonable and rational procedure established By law'. Therefore, it is the duty of the State to see that UT prisoners are brought to trial. Over-crowded Courts, inadequate human resources to run the justice delivery system and fiscal deficiency cannot be justifiable reasons when a person is deprived of his liberty. Larger societal interest is involved in the speedy trial, for the UT prisoner is deprived of his job, his family ties, emotional well-being, and his right to effectively defend the charge.
26. In Ratlam Municipality v. Vardhichand, , the Hon'ble Supreme Court ruled that "the State cannot escape its public responsibility by pleading financial bankruptcy". In Hussainara Khatoon (II), (Order dated 9-3-1979), the Hon'ble Supreme Court held that Part-Ill and Part -IV of the Constitution do not permit the Government of the day to deprive its citizens of human right to liberty on the plea of penury and poverty. The Hon'ble Supreme Court after referring to various American decisions held as follows:
"The State cannot avoid its constitutional obligation to provide speedy trial to the accused by pleading financial or administrative ability. The State is under a constitutional mandate to ensure speedy trial and whatever is necessary for this purpose has to be done by the State. It is also the constitutional obligation of this Court, as the guardian of the fundamental rights of the people, as a sentinel on the qui vive, to enforce the fundamental right of the accused to speedy trial by issuing the necessary directions to the State which may include taking of positive action, such as augmenting and strengthening the investigate machinery, setting up new Courts, building new Court houses, providing more staff and equipment to the Courts, appointment of additional Judges and other measures calculated to ensure speedy trial....."
27. We respectfully follow the above binding observations and reject the defence taken by the State.
28. Another submission made by the amicus curias pertains to awarding of compensation for the unconstitutional pre-trial detention suffered by the UT Prisoners. In Nelabati Behra v. State of Orissa, and D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal,
, the Supreme Court held that the claim in public law for compensation for contravention of human rights is an acknowledged remedy for enforcement of fundamental rights, and that the said remedy in public law jurisdiction is without prejudice to any other action like civil suit for damages with respect to same matter for the tortious act committed by the functionaries of the State. Thus the relief to redress the wrong for violation of fundamental rights by awarding compensation under public law jurisdiction is in addition to the conventional remedies. The legal position is well-settled in this branch of public law. However, for the purpose of this case, in the absence of all details, by way of affidavit evidence or otherwise, we leave the question open, to be agitated by any individual UT prisoner, if so advised, either by way of suit or writ petition.
29. In WP No.32039 of 1998, the petitioner complained of over-crowding in prisons and also prayed for providing facilities. We only hope that the respondents would implement the various guidelines given by the Supreme Court in Ramamurthy's case (supra), as it dealt with all the aspects raised by the petitioner.
30. Keeping in view the various judgments of the Hon'ble Supreme Court, dealing with the problem of UT prisoners, especially the judgments in Hussainara Khatoon, Common Cause and Raj Deo Sharma cases we issue the following directions:
(1) All the UT prisoners, who have been remanded for offences under A.P. Prohibition Act, 1995, A.P. Excise Act, 1968, Motor Vehicles Act, A.P. (Andhra) Gambling Act, 1930, A.P. Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act, A.P. Forest Act, 1967 shall be released (discharged or acquitted) forthwith, if they have been in jail for periods longer than the maximum term for which they could have been sentenced if convicted;
(2) All the UT prisoners, who have been in remand for offences other than the offences under the various Acts mentioned in clause (1) above, including the offences under IPC, shall be released (discharged or acquitted) forthwith if they have been in jail for periods longer than the maximum term for which they could have been sentenced if convicted;
(3) All UT prisoners other than those referred in clauses (1) and (2) above, who have been in jail for a period of not less than one half of the maximum period of punishment prescribed for the offence shall be released on bail forthwith in accordance with the directions issued by the Supreme Court in Common Cause v. Union of India, (1994) 4 SCC 3, as modified in ; and Raj Deo Sharma v. State of Bihar, ;
(4) All the Criminal Courts, including the Sessions Courts, shall try the offences where the UT prisoners cannot be released, as directed by the Supreme Court in Common Cause case on priority basis by following the provisions of Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973;
(5) All the UT prisoners who are accused of multiple offences and who have been in jail for maximum term for which they could be sentenced on conviction, even if the sentences awarded to them were consecutive and not concurrent, shall be released/discharged forthwith;
(6) Other UT prisoners accused of multiple offences, shall be released on bail on furnishing a personal bond in an appropriate amount;
(7) For the purpose of above directions for release on bail, ail the criminal Courts on the next date fixed for extension of remand or otherwise shall suo motu on the authority of this order shall consider the bail cases and grant bail on the UT prisoners furnishing personal bond for appropriate amount and in appropriate cases sureties also;
(8) We direct the High Level Committee, constituted in terms of G.O. Ms. No.317, dated 16-10-1999 to monitor the cases of UT prisoners regularly and take all necessary steps for production in the concerned criminal Court;
(9) All the mentally challenged/mentally retarded UT prisoners, including three UT prisoners, who have been under detention for 18 years, 15 years and 6 years, shall be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of Chapter XXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. If the Medical Officer of the State Government certifies that the UT prisoner is mentally healthy, all such UT prisoners who completed maximum sentence period shall be released forthwith; and all such persons of unsound mind shall forthwith be shifted to any Government Institute of Mental Health pending necessary orders from the competent criminal Court for release of such persons.
(10) The directions issued" in this order shall be complied with within a period of two weeks by all the authorities and Courts viz., Sessions Courts, the Courts of Magistrates of I Class, Superintendents of Central Jails, District Jails, Sub-jails, and the respondents herein;
(11) We also direct all the District Judges to regularly visit the Central Jails, District Jails and Sub-Jails within their respective jurisdictions and take appropriate action as per the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Prisons Act and Jail Manual.
(12) All the Superintendents of Central Prisons, District Jails and Sub-Jails, shall take all necessary steps to bring the directions given hereinabove to the notice of all the UT prisoners in their custody. Inspector-General of Prisons and Director-General of Correctional Services, Government of Andhra Pradesh, shall send a copy of this order to all the jail authorities with specific instructions to bring this to the notice of all the UT prisoners by supplying translated copies, displaying on notice board, and by announcing the directions during daily/ weekly prison assembly meetings.
31. The effort put by Sri S. Ramachandra Rao, learned senior Counsel, the amicus curiae, is stupendous. We are grateful to the amicus cwiae for the able assistance given to the Court. We also record our appreciation for the assistance rendered by Sri M.S. Ramachandra Rao, learned amicus curiae.
32. We accordingly dispose of the writ petitions with the above directions. There shall be no order as to costs.