What Are Undertrials?
The Indian President has raised the issue of the plight of a large number of undertrials holed up in the prisons.
- An undertrial is a person who is currently on trial or who is imprisoned on remand whilst awaiting trial or a person who is on a trial in a court of law.
- The 78th Report of Law Commission also includes a person who is in judicial custody on remand during investigation in the definition of an ‘undertrial’.
- As per NCRB (National Crime Report Bureau), over the last 10 years, the number of undertrials in jails has risen constantly and peaked in 2021.
- In 2020, about 76% of all prison inmates in the country were undertrials, of which about 68% were either illiterate or school dropouts.
- Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) were found to have the highest ratio of undertrials in jails at 91%, followed by Bihar and Punjab at 85%, and Odisha at 83%.
- About 27% of all undertrials were found to be illiterate, and 41% had dropped out before Class X.