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Central Jail Amritsar has set up a Legal Aid Cell with a view to provide free legal aid to the poor and underprivileged prisoners facing charges for petty offences and languishing in jails for a long time. The cell, which paved way to the release of more than 550 poor prisoners persons so far involved in petty offence, was established with the support of some of the prisoners having knowledge and interest in legal proceedings.

Sh. Gurdev Singh, District and Sessions Judge addresses the inmates

The active partners of this Legal Aid Cell are:

  • Prisoners
  • Prison Officers
  • District Legal Services Authority
  • Lawyers for Social Action (NGO)
  • Members of Amritsar Bar Association

These beneficiaries are of the following categories:

  • Persons involved in petty cases and having undergone a considerable period in the jail with the trial still going on.
  • Persons under judicial custody involved in Excise cases where the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to try such cases as per amended Punjab Excise Act 2003. These persons have been released on personal bond.
  • The prisoners against whom, charge sheets have not been filed by the police despite expiry of the stipulated period of 60/90 days. These persons are not able to furnish sureties because of economic constraints.
Swami Ramdev appreciating the functioning of Legal Aid Cell


This cell has also done appreciable job when two prisoners were to be hanged on October 16,2006. We got stay order from the Hon'ble Supreme Court.

Unnecessary and illegal detention of prisoners not only amounts to gross violation of human rights but also adds an extra burden on the state exchequer. A report of the 'National Human Rights Commission' also says - "Indeed in most of the jails, there is a predominance of under trials. Many of them who have committed petty offences are languishing in jails, because their cases are not being decided early for reasons which it is not necessary to reiterate."

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