Lahore High Court Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik and Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah on Thursday released 48 prisoners accused of petty crimes during their visit to Lahore District Jail and the Central Jail at Kot Lakhpat on the Eid day.
The judges were accompanied by District and Sessions Judge Tariq Iftikhar, Prisons Inspector General Mian Farooq Nazir and DIG Malik Mubashar.
The judges released the prisoners against personal surety bonds.
The judges asked for details of cases against the prisoners and directed prison authorities to send details of cases pending adjudication with the Lahore High Court within a week so they could be disposed of as soon as possible.
Justice Malik told the prisoners he had disposed of 800 murder references in a year. He said Chief Justice Khwaja Imtiaz Ahmad wanted to mitigate difficulties of men behind bars.
A statement issued by the Lahore High Court said prison population in the province had declined from 64,000 to 59,000 prisoners as a result.
Reviewing arrangements at the jails, the judges stressed the need for further improvement. They said latest technology could be used to conduct video trials of prisoners.
The judges also stressed the need for juvenile under-trials to be trained in various skills.
Talking to the prisoners, the judges advised them to learn from their mistakes and never to return to prisons after they were released.
Some prisoners demanded application of remission in their sentences but they were reminded that it was the job of the government.
The judges met every prisoner on death row and also visited women’s barracks, wards of prison hospitals and the juvenile wing to distribute Eid gifts and to hear their grievances.
The judges promised to visit the prisons again in September.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah said the Lahore High Court had started reform projects to overhaul the judicial system in the province and a pilot project had been launched in jails to introduce information technology and automation.
Justice Shah said data from jails was being collected to have easy access to the information.
He said the project would be interlinked with the Lahore High Court so that records could be obtained easily.
Both the judges and Sheikihupura District and Sessions Judge Nazeer Ahmad Gujana and jail officials visited the Sheikihupura district jail.
They exchanged Eid greetings with prisoners and offered them Eid gifts.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 1st, 2014.