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'Legal system distorted as only poor languish in jail without trial'

new delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Saturday alleged that the legal system in the country is distorted and only the poor languish in jail without trial or bail. He cited the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data to say that a majority of undertrial prisoners are poor and are from oppressed classes and hoped the latest Supreme Court order will provide such people some relief.

"According to NCRB data, 76 per cent of all prisoners are under trials. Of the under trials, 27 per cent are illiterate, 41 per cent had dropped out before Class X. What does this mean? That most under trial prisoners are poor and most likely from among the oppressed classes," he said in a series of tweets.

"The legal system is so distorted that only the poor languish in jail without a trial and without bail," he said.

The former union minister said in Jammu and Kashmir, the proportion of under trials is 91 per cent.

"I am certain most of them are in prison on charges -- yet unproved -- of instigating or indulging in violence. Let's see if the latest SC order will bring relief to these poor, hapless prisoners," Chidambaram said.

The Supreme Court on Friday observed that some "out of the box" thinking is required to unclog jails and reduce the burden of criminal cases in courts.

A bench of Justice S K Kaul and M M Sundresh, which was hearing matters relating to the pendency of appeals in criminal cases for a long, observed that clogging of trial courts by criminal cases is an important aspect.

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