They are in Jail as Fighting Cases may Cost them a Bomb

  • Muslims, Dalits and Adivasis, three of the most vulnerable sections, make up more than half of India's prison population
  • Although the proportion of these three communities in India adds up to about 39%, their share amongst prisoners is 53%.
  • India had 4.2 lakh persons in prison in 2013- nearly 20% of them were Muslims although the share of Muslims in India's population is about 13% according to Census 2001.
  • Dalits make up 22% of prisoners-their proportion in population is about 17% according to Census 2011 .
  • While Adivasis make up 11% of prisoners in Indian jails-their share in the general population is 9%.
  • Most experts say that this disturbing trend is not because Adivasis, Dalits or Muslims commit more crimes.
  • It arises because they are economically and socially under-privileged, unable to fight costly cases or often even pay for bail.
  • Some say that these communities are targeted with false cases.
  • Former chief justice of Delhi High Court Rajinder Sachar pointed out that there had been several cases of Muslim youths being acquitted after years in prison.
  • Colin Gonsalves, human rights activist and lawyer said:Poverty is more prevalent among these three communities and that becomes an obstacle in dealing with the legal system.
  • Our system has an ingrained communal and casteist bias.
  • Also, proportion of these communities in the police officers and even judiciary is less.
  • These are key factors behind this shocking imbalance.