This is an appeal to intellectuals and human rights organizations/activists about the Indefinite Hunger Strike that will be launched from Thursday 30th January 2014 by at least 177 under trial prisoners, including 7 women, who are detained in Nagpur Central Prison Nagpur, Maharashtra. The prisoners who are going to participate in the strike are all under trial prisoners who have been charged under UAPA, MCOCA, and/or murder charges under IPC).
It is a settled principle of law and a directive of the APEX COURT of this country that “BAIL is the rule and Jail is an exception”.
In spite of repeated rulings of the Supreme Court that bail ought to be granted at the earliest and that the gravity of the charges should not be the reason for not granting bail. The prison population is ever increasing and hundereds and thousands of under trial prisoners are languishing in jails because bail has been denied to them.
The under trial prisoners are thus deprived of their legal and constitutional right of getting bail, even in lingering procrastinated trials. Besides, almost all are denied their right of physical attendance in courts, fair and speedy trials and reasonably speedy Judgments.
The prisoners of Nagpur central jail, having tried all means, such as petitioning the Bombay High Court, government of Maharashtra, felt that they had no other no alternative but to launch an Indefinite Hunger Strike till their demands are achieved.
A memorandum dated 20th January 2014 and signed by 177 under trial prisoners has been sent to the Honourable Chief Justice of Bombay High Court with copies to Principal Judge, Bombay High Court (Nagpur Bench) and other officials through the Superintendent of Nagpur Central Prison Nagpur. The memorandum includes the following demands:
1. The directives of Honorable Supreme Court that “Bail is the rule and Jail is an exception” should be implemented as a principle with regard to bail and bail should be granted in a definite and short time period;
2. Those charges with supposedly serious crimes should also be granted bail. after charge sheet is filed, albeit with conditions if required;
3. In order to establish the right of fair and speedy trial to all Accused, after the closure of a trial, Judgment should be delivered in a relatively definite and short time period. If the trial is delayed due to some unavoidable reasons, then the under trial bail should be granted bail. More so in the cases of those under trial prisoners whose bail application/s has/have been refused earlier.
4. The right of a fair trial cannot be established through Video Conference (V.C.) method. V.C.s should not be an option during trials and under trial prisoners must be compulsorily brought to court on their trial dates.
Friends, we are committed to sit on Indefinite Hunger Strike till our demands are mrt. The success of our struggle cannot be achieved without your solidarity and active support from outside. So it is our humble and hopeful appeal to you to kindly extend your support in favour of our just demands and struggle.
1] Sudhir Dhawale
2] Diwakar Jha
3] Gautam Pillewan and other under trial prisoners.