Syllabus GS II Structure, organisation and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Enumerate the reasons behind the overcrowding of undertrials in Indian prisons? Discuss the challenges in bail compliance.

Over 75% of India’s prison population are undertrials while overcrowding in Indian prisons stands at 118%. These stark realities are often cited to represent the scale of the crisis in India’s criminal justice system.

Reasons behind the overcrowding of the under trials

  1. The Supreme Court of India recently acknowledged, in Satender Kumar Antil vs CBI, the ineffectiveness of India’s bail system and its contribution to this crisis.
  2. The Court noted that despite repeated guidelines on bail law, things have not changed much on the ground.
  3. The Court provided comprehensive guidelines on laws related to bail, such as mandating timelines for the disposal of bail applications and laying emphasis on the need to enact a separate legislation.
  4. The judgement noted that crowding jails with undertrial prisoners ignored the principle of ‘presumption of innocence’ and that ‘bail not jail’ should be the norm. However, there is still a need to reflect on why these established principles are honoured more in their breach than observance.
  5. Any reimagination of the law on bail needs to first understand the exact nature of the problem that results in large-scale undertrial incarceration.
  6. An effective bail law must be based on the correlation of these answers with variables such as the demographics of undertrials, category of offences and timelines for bail, and also address socio-economic and structural barriers.
  7. The foundations of the current bail law ensure that it is anti-poor and disproportionately burdens those from marginalised backgrounds.

Some data about the prison undertrials:

  1. The Court averred that effective enforcement of safeguards against arbitrary arrest would eliminate the need to seek bail from courts.
  2. These safeguards exclude a significant proportion of arrested persons, especially those from disadvantaged sections of society, who form the large majority of undertrial prisoners.
  3. For example, the arrest of a person is justified as ‘necessary’ if the police have ‘reasons to believe’ that it is required to ensure their presence in court. Such vague justifications put migrants, persons without assets or those with no contact with family at higher risk of arrest because of their socio-economic conditions.
  4. Data from the Fair Trial Programme (FTP) in Yerwada and Nagpur central prisons can be instructive here. Of the undertrials (2,313) represented by the FTP , 18.50% were migrants, 93.48% did not own any assets, 62.22% did not have any contact with family, and 10% had a history of previous incarceration.
  5. Evidently, a significant proportion from the sample would be unjustifiably excluded from protections against arrest and contribute to the large proportion of undertrials in our prisons.

Challenges in bail compliance

There is an urgent need for bail reform but it would be counterproductive to undertake a reform exercise without first developing the empirical basis to understand and diagnose the problem at hand.

~Source The Hindu

Syllabus GS III Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights. 

Elucidate the importance of development of the space sector. Comment on the private space sector regulations in India.

Enhancing space technology would be beneficial to bolster connectivity and combat climate-related implications through a more secure and effective means. Private sector’s involvement in the long term, as with other commercial sectors, is believed to help spur investment and expertise in the realm which is capital-intensive and demands high technology.

Importance of development of space sector:

Regulations for the private space sector in India:

The space sector reforms were made with the intention to provide a “level playing field” to private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services.The central idea was to bring forth a predictable policy and regulatory environment for them and additionally provide access to ISRO facilities and assets to improve their capacities.

~Source The Hindu