Monday, August 12, 2013

Tihar inmates plead for trial in Hindi

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: PVCHR Communication <>
Date: Tue, Aug 13, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Subject: Tihar inmates plead for trial in Hindi
To: covdnhrc <>, jrlawnhrc <>
Cc: Lenin Raghuvanshi

The Chairperson
National Human Rights Commission
New Delhi

Dear Sir,
I want to bring in your kind attention towards the news published in the daliy English Newspaper Times of India on 13 August, 2013 Tihar inmates plead for trial in Hindi

Tihar inmates plead for trial in Hindi

, TNN | Aug 13, 2013, 02.14 AM IST

NEW DELHI: In what could change the fate of thousands of undertrials, the Tiharadministration has requested the Delhi high court to initiate steps for conducting trials in Hindi as this would enable the inmates to participate in their trial instead of being a mute spectator. The letter, submitted to the Chief Justice of the high court, has also been marked to the secretary general of National Human Rights Commission, sources said.

The Tihar authorities said this had been a longstanding demand of thousands of its prisoners, particularly the adolescent ones, who have written applications expressing their inability to understand the proceedings conducted in English.

The undertrials say the situation is such that they select advocates on the basis of how fluent they "sound" in English. The prisoners have said in unanimity that they just stand clueless during the trial proceedings whenever a witness is being examined or an argument is going on. They have cited states like Uttar Pradesh and south Indian states where the trial is conducted in their mother tongue, sources said, referring to a prisoner's application.

The representations further mentioned that the undertrials' constitutional and fundamental right is grossly violated as their destiny is decided without them being a party to it, the letter reads.

Around 90% of the Tihar undertrials belong to the lower strata of society and they are either illiterate or little educated. Around 40% has been roughly estimated to be illiterate while around 60% is educated below Classes XII and X.

"These applicants have requested the conduct of trial in Hindi language so that they are able to understand and appreciate the trial proceedings which, in turn, will help in expeditious disposal of case. Some of the representations are enclosed in original for your kind consideration of Hon'ble Justice," said a source quoting the letter.

Signed by director general (Tihar) Vimlaa Mehra, the letter also refers to the problem of overcrowding at the jail which increases the number of inmates affected by the language problem.

"It mentions that against the sanctioned capacity to house 6,250 prisoners, there are 13,253 inmates lodged in Delhi prisons as of July 22 and 75% of the jail population consists of under trials who are required to be produced before various courts in Delhi and outside. The comparison of the prison population during last three years reveals that around 100 prisoners are added to the jail every year. There were 10,856 prison inmates in December 2010," a source in the court administration said.

The inmate population statistics also reveal that 200 undertrials, including 16 women inmates, are facing trial before the district courts of Delhi for more than five years. And they are still unclear of their status as they barely understand what happens in court and mostly depend on what their lawyers tell them.

"I shall be grateful if some decision is taken about the grievances of the prisoners for holding the trial in their mother tongue i.e. Hindi, so that they are able to understand the proceedings of the trial which will also help in quick disposal of the cases." concludes the letter.

Therefore it is a kind request please take appropriate action at earliest. 

Thanking You
Sincerely Yours
Lenin Raghuvanshi
Secretary General
Peoples' Vigilance Committee on Human Rights
Sa 4/2 A Daulatpur, Varanasi - 221002
Mobile No: +91-9935599333

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