Voicing concern over overcrowding in Maharashtra jails and other matters concerning prisoners, the Bombay High Court has directed Joint Secretary (Home) and other senior government officials to remain present in court on September 21 to address the issue.
“We direct Joint Secretary (Home), Government of Maharashtra, and other senior officers concerned with the issue to remain present on the next date, i.e September 21 for directions,” a bench of justices Naresh Patil and Prakash Naik said in a recent order.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Shaikh Abdul Naeem, who raised various issues concerning the criminal administration system.
The issues raised by him included tackling the problem of overcrowding in various jails of Maharashtra and assignment of escort officers/constables for producing prisoners before the court for various purposes.
The high court sought data regarding delay in serving summons and notices to accused and witnesses in criminal cases by police. It also sought data regarding delay in conducting trials due to want of service of summons on prosecution witnesses by police.
The bench further wanted to know in how many criminal cases trials had been delayed due to want of service of summons in the state.
Viewing the matter seriously, the judges directed the counsel appearing for the high court, S R Nargolkar, to seek instructions independently from the respective Principal District Judges in the state of Maharashtra.
During the course of hearing, the bench heard various issues concerning the Criminal Administration system and also perused the government resolution, circulars, communications issued from time to time by the high court on such aspects.
“We have heard Amicus Curiae Niteen Pradhan on certain suggestions. We have also taken into consideration the submissions advanced by the learned public prosecutor M M Deshmukh. We want the prosecutor and the High Court counsel to take instructions from the authorities and make submissions broadly on these issues on the next date,” the judges said.