New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh has a total of 80,557 undertrial prisoners, the highest among all states in India. Out of these, 55,051 belong to the schedule castes, schedule tribes and other backward castes.
The data shared in the Lok Sabha by Minister of State Home Affairs Ajay Kumar Mishra during this monsoon session shows that of the total undertrial prisoners, those belonging to the SC/ST and OBC community make for the majority chunk.
In total, there were 77,716 undertrial prisoners belonging to the schedule caste and 39,031 to the schedule tribes – giving a total of 1,16,747 undertrial prisoners belonging to the SC/ST communities. The OBCs also made a big chunk at 1,27,736 while the rest 1,01,194 of the undertrial prisoners belong to the general category.
The state which comes after UP for its sizeable chunk of undertrial prisoners was Bihar with a total of 44,187, as recorded on December 31, 2020. These states were followed by Madhya Pradesh with 31,712, Maharashtra with 26,171 and West Bengal with 20,144.
The NCRB data that the MHA has quoted, released in 2021, shows that the number of undertrial prisoners who have spent above five years in confinement in India’s prisons stood at 7,128.
Out of those undertrial prisoners who spent above five years in confinement, Uttar Pradesh again leads, with the highest at 2,877, followed by Delhi with 624.
For those who have spent 3-5 years in confinement as undertrials, UP again took the top spot with 5,248 followed by Maharashtra with 2,338. In total, there were 16,603 who had spent those years in prison without being convicted.
Those who had spent from 2-3 years in confinement were 7,504 in UP, followed by Maharashtra with 3,517, and third spot taken closely by
West Bengal with 2,898. In total, 29,194 people languished in prisons not yet convicted for their offences for 2-3 years.
India is second to Bangladesh among the Commonwealth countries to have the highest share of pre-trial detainees with 76.1 per cent, while Bangladesh has 80 per cent, according to a report titled ‘Guilty Till Proven Innocent?’ by the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative.