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Poor who cannot afford lawyers remain in jails as undertrials while rich get bail: Supreme Court Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul

The top court judge also said that the poor and illiterate who cannot afford lawyers are more prone to detention as undertrial prisoners while the rich who can hire lawyers invariably get bail.

Our responsibility as judges is to ensure that the law is followed in letter and spirit, and it does not discriminate between anyone on the basis of the quality of legal representation they can afford, among other man-made qualifiers. This responsibility is also the bedrock of rule of law and access to justice,” he stated.

He opined that the trend of such long incarceration of undertrials is disturbing and one cannot turn a blind eye to the flip side of the criminal justice system, where the continued detention of poor prisoners has a severe adverse impact on them and their families.

We cannot have a scenario where we perceive that the only punishment which can be delivered is keeping people at the undertrial stage, irrespective of whether the prosecution has the ability to get their conviction ultimately. This is a disturbing trend which I find, where people remain behind bars, under trials, and the presumption is whether they are able to get conviction or not, this is what may be the punishment or sentence,” Justice Kaul said.

Source: Barandbench

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