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Medha Patkar has Petitioned the Supreme Court for the Immediate Release of Prisoners Over the Age of 70.

Who is Medha Patkar? Medha Patkar (born December 1, 1954) is an Indian social activist who works on a variety of important political and economic issues that affect tribals, dalits, farmers, labourers, and women in India.  

New Delhi: Medha Patkar, a social activist, has petitioned the Supreme Court for directions to the Center and all states and union territories to take prompt action, including the release of inmates beyond the age of 70 on interim bail or emergency parole, to protect their interests.

Patkar said she has petitioned the Supreme Court for directives to the Centre, states and union territories, and high-powered committees (HPCs) to develop a common method to decongest prisons across India by releasing offenders over the age of 70.

Patkar’s petition cited the National Crimes Record Bureau’s Prison Statistics, which reported that approximately 19.1% of all offenders in Indian prisons are over the age of 50.

According to the plea, the release of elderly convicts, regardless of the severity of the offenses, is necessary and practicable for practical reasons, and should not pose any law and order issues. In the alternative, the petition requested that the Centre, states, and union territories ensure that elderly convicts who refuse to accept the temporary release are sent to the least congested prisons feasible, preferably open prisons with suitable medical facilities.

Fun Facts: 

1. According to the NJDG, there are 5.75 million cases pending in the country's High Courts (HCs), and 38.15 million cases pending in District Courts (DCs). The total number of cases is staggering: 43.90 million.

2. Since 2000, India has carried out eight executions, the most recent of which took place in 2020. Mukesh, Akshay Kumar Singh, Vinay Sharma, and Pawan Kumar, death row inmates for the gangrape and murder of Jyoti Singh in December 2012, were killed on March 20, 2020.

3. The Indian Parliament made a wise decision by passing a bill that explicitly specifies that adolescents between the ages of 16 and 18 must be tried as adults for severe crimes such as rape or murder. Those under the age of 18 can currently be punished to up to three years in a reform center.

4. Since the NCRB began publishing data on prison deaths in 2000, 26,426 people have been reported to have died while in judicial custody. Because more than 70% of the entire jail population is still awaiting trial, many of these deaths include individuals that are yet to be convicted.

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