The Centre on Tuesday told Parliament that out of the 5.54 lakh prisoners in the country at the end of 2021, 4.27 lakh or 77.1%, were awaiting trial.

“The undertrial inmates are detained in prisons on the orders of the court by following the due process of law,” the government said. It cited the data available with the National Crime Records Bureau as on December 31, 2021.

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ashish Mishra gave the figures in response to a question by Bahujan Samaj Party leader Shyam Singh Yadav in the Lok Sabha.

Yadav had also sought to know the number of prisoners awaiting trial belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes in Uttar Pradesh.

On this, Mishra said that as per NCRB data, there were 90,606 undertrial prisoners in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

“Out of these, 21,942 belonged to Scheduled Caste community, 4,657 belonged to Scheduled Tribe community and 41,678 belonged to Other Backward Class,” the minister said.

In response to another question on whether there had been an increase in the number of arrests after the coronavirus lockdown, the government said no such information was available.