Tuesday, September 18th, 2012
Memorandum submitted to Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon. Prime Minister of India, as a part of national campaign for the amendment in UAPA and release of under-trial prisoners on bail
We would like to bring to your kind and immediate attention to the following.
Hundreds of people mostly youth belonging to minority communities, Adivasis and Dalits are in jail under the rigorous provisions of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) especially in states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Since they are jailed under repressive laws, the courts usually refuse to release them on bail. If there is a terrorist appellation and the resultant obtrusive media trial, it becomes almost impossible for the remand prisoners to come out. There are instances of young men going to jail as under- trials and coming out after long years of incarceration. When the courts acquit them, no compensation is given to them and they are forced to live with the indelible stigma of a former prisoner. Jails are meant for those who are convicted and punished after trial in the court, but unfortunately in our country, they have become bleak houses for under-trial imprisonment.
It is a basic legal principle that no person should be treated as guilty unless and until his crime is proved in the court through a fair trial. Persons facing trial on alleged crimes are to be treated as innocents until the court finally declare them guilty and imprisoned. That is why our country has liberal provisions to grant bail to those arrested. The Supreme Court has made it very clear that bail is the rule and jail is the exception.
After the repeal of previous black laws like TADA and POTA, the Parliament has amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) incorporating provisions to deny bail and keep the accused indefinitely in jail.
We strongly believe that no democratic government can allow this violation and no civilized society can remain passive to this grave injustice. So we request you to initiate immediate action to remove the undemocratic provisions in the UAPA which gives unlimited power to the police to arrest and detain people on charges which are usually dismissed by the courts. We also request you to direct the state governments to free the under-trial prisoners on bail and to provide compensation to those people who are forced to remain in jail as remand prisoners.
E. M. Abdul Rahiman
Popular Front of India
15 November 2012
The Union Minister for Home Affairs
The Minister of State for Home Affairs
The State Chief Ministers
The State Home Ministers