Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Wednesday said that the Government of India will support the poor prisoners who are not able to secure bail and pay the fine imposed on them.
In a communique sent to all States and UTs, the MHA said that it is to inform the Chief Ministers of States/UTs informing them that the Government of India has formulated a scheme to support poor prisoners, whereby it will provide “financial support to such poor prisoners who are not being released from jails as they are unable to pay the fine imposed on them or are not able to secure bail due to financial constraints.”
The document, available with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) said that the States/UTs were informed that expenditure in this regard will be borne by the Central Government and therefore they may take full advantage of this scheme in providing relief to poor prisoners.
“Subsequently, Union Home Secretary vide his DO Letter No. 17013/26/2023-PR dated 19.6.2023 had informed the Chief Secretaries of all States/UTs about the scheme and had forwarded a copy of the ‘Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedure’ which may be followed in implementation of the scheme,” it read, adding that “States and UTs were inter-alia advised through the Guidelines to constitute an ‘Empowered Committee’ in each District of the State/UT, which will assess the requirement of financial support in each case for securing bail or for payment of fine, etc. and based on the decision taken, the DC/DM will draw money from the CNA account and take necessary action to provide assistance to the prisoner.”
The MHA further said that it is expected that the State/UT authorities would have initiated necessary action for constituting the ‘Empowered Committee’ as envisioned in the Guidelines and SoP and would have identified eligible prisoners to whom the benefit of this scheme can be extended.
“During our recent meetings with the Head of Prisons of all States and UTs, we had requested them to share the details of action taken by them in this regard. However, a response is awaited in the matter,” it said.
The MHA further said that since this is a significant scheme of the Government of India which can have far reaching effects on the life of poor prisoners who are not able to secure their release from prisons on bail or due to non-payment of fine, States/UTs are requested to kindly review the matter personally and confirm to MHA if Empowered Committees as envisioned in the Guidelines and SOP have been constituted in all Districts of the States/UTs and whether beneficiaries of this scheme have been identified by the States/UTs.
“The Central Government has made the requisite provision of funds which are ready to be drawn by the States/UTs after following the procedure laid down in the Guidelines/SOP. The State/UT authorities may therefore issue necessary directions to its concerned officers for activating the scheme on urgent basis and provide a confirmation to MHA in this regard,” the document read—(KNO)