Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal on Thursday said that he will take voluntary cut of Rs 5 crore in his annual salary to contribute to ‘Nyaya Bharti’, which will help the undertrials at district court-level by paying bail and surety amounts.
The company will launch a legal aid service to provide assistance to first-time undertrials languishing in jails for minor offences. Nyaya Bharti will start with Rs 10 crore funding from Bharti.
“To start with, we will roll out Nyaya Bharti in the Delhi-NCR and Punjab and add more states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Rajasthan. Bharti Airtel will contribute Rs 10 crore each year as part of CSR for this project,” said Mittal.
Mittal said the idea of launching the legal aid service, besides Bharti’s education and sanitation initiative under CSR, came to him during his visits to Patiala court for his case.
“Most undertrials suffer in jails simply because of their ignorance of the law and their rights to liberty, their inability to pay the meagre amounts required for bails and bonds and lack of persons to stand surety,” he said.
Mittal said half of the funding, or Rs 5 crore, will come from the salary he draws. He drew a salary of Rs 27.17 crore in 2014-15.
The initiative, for which young lawyers will be roped in to pour into thousands of cases of languishing undertrials, bring them to a screening committee and provide them legal defence, including bail bonds, is aimed at being rolled out by April 1, 2016.
“It is estimated that there are over 280,000 undertrials in 1,387 jails in India, constituting nearly 68 per cent of the total prisoner population,” he said, adding only first time offenders charged with minor offences will be taken up.
Under Nyaya Bharti, a screening committee of independent persons will be set up that will identify the cases that need to be taken up.
It will work under the aegis of Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, and will have a separate Governing Board.
With PTI inputs