President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday said the legislature, the executive and the judiciary need to have "one thinking" for the country and its people. In her valedictory address at the Constitution Day celebrations organised by the Supreme Court here, she suggested decongesting jails by helping poor people languishing there for years for petty crimes.
"It is said that jails are getting overcrowded and there is a need to set up more jails. Are we moving towards development? What is the need to set up more jails? We need to reduce their numbers," she said in Hindi.
Ms Murmu said there is a need to do something for these poor people in prisons.
"You need to do something for these people. Who are these people in jail? They do not know the fundamental rights, preamble or the fundamental duties," the president said while addressing the event.
Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Union Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju also attended the event. The president said, "The three wings of the government -- legislature, executive and judiciary -- there has to be one thinking somewhere for the country and its people (Sabka mann, sabki soch ek honi chahiye)."
"Checks and balance need to be there, but somewhere we need to work together, she said. "Our job is to think about people (poor undertrials languishing in jails). We all have to think and come out with some way ... I am leaving it all on you," President Murmu said amid huge rounds of applause.
She said these people are in jails for slapping somebody or for similar minor offences, and they were slapped with legal provisions even as some of these provisions do not apply in such cases.
"I come from a very small village. Where I was born, people there considered three people as god -- teachers, doctors and lawyers," the president said.
People are even willing to give away all their money and property to doctors and lawyers to help them overcome their troubles, she said.
President Murmu said people do not get their family members freed from jails as they feel their properties and utensils at home would have to be sold (in the process).
On the other hand, there are some people who do many things, even kill others, but they are roaming free, she said.
"It (cases of people landing up in prison after doing petty crimes) is a burden on the government... I leave this to you (referring to judges and the law minister)," the president added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)