//Prison adalat a godsend for undertrials

Prison adalat a godsend for undertrials

603 released from Tiruchi Central Prison last year
Tiruchi next only to Chennai in releasing large number of offenders

TIRUCHI: The `Prison Adalat’ concept of the District Legal Services Authority has come to the aid of undertrial prisoners involved in petty offences to a great extent.
Through prison adalats, 603 prisoners, including 246 women, were released from the Central Prison here during last year. Among the adalats held in nine central prisons in the state, the ones held in Tiruchi are next only to Chennai in releasing a large number of petty offenders.

The success of the adalat here is more due to a periodical conduct of the exercise. Each Judicial Magistrate, in turn, is assigned the job of conducting the adalat at the prison for a month. The Magistrate sits for four times a month.
In what seems to be a case of delivery of justice at doorstep, the adalat has been relieving petty offenders from undergoing an arduous term at the prison for a longer duration than the specified period.

 Till the prison adalat concept was introduced, the process of releasing petty offenders involved judicial procedures such as taking the undertrials to court with police escort, engaging services of lawyers etc. Apart from consuming more time, what worried the economically weaker litigant public was their inability bear expenses.
The judicial officials conducting the prison adalat ascertain the nature of offence, period of term served by the prisoner etc. They ensure that only petty offenders are released, that too subject to a condition that the undertrial prisoners confess to their offence.


Interestingly, the Magistrate-cum-presiding officer, after preliminary enquiry with prisoners and law enforcing officials, issue orders for the release of prisoners on the spot, bringing relief to the offenders and their family members. It also lessens the burden for the prison authorities to a great extent, as it checks overcrowding in prisons.
Adalats are conducted in both the men as well as special jail for women in Tiruchi Central Prison. During last December alone, Judicial Magistrate I, R. Malathi, released 57 prisoners. District court officials say the success of the adalat is mainly due to the interest evinced by the Principal District and Sessions Judge, S. Vimala.

Hindu, Jan7,2006, Syed Muthahar Saqaf ,