Sunil Mittal takes Rs 5 crore salary cut to support undertrials in Indian jails

Airtel Sunil Mittal

Bharti Enterprises Chairman Sunil Mittal will take a voluntary cut of Rs 5 crore from his annual salary towards supporting the underprivileged undertrials across the country under a CSR activity.

The objective is to support more than 280,000 undertrials in approx. 1,387 jails in India constituting nearly 68 percent of the total prisoner population. The activity is to support prisoners via court cases and awareness.

Many of these undertrials have been in custody for periods longer than the prison term had they been convicted. Most of these undertrials suffer in jails because of their ignorance of the law and their rights to liberty, their inability to pay the funds required for bails and bonds and lack of persons to stand surety.

The CSR program called Nyaya Bharti aims to help the undertrials exercise their fundamental right to legal defense and present their case before the Courts. It will have a committee of independent persons that will identify the cases that need to be taken up.

Nyaya Bharti will start functioning in the coming months and ensure that the Board, screening committee and the team of young lawyers are all in place to start giving its first grant from 1 April 2016.

Bharti Airtel will provide an annual grant of Rs 10 crores on ongoing basis. Several leading lawyers will support the initiative and will provide pro-bono services.

Top law firm AZB & Partners and EY will also provide pro-bono legal, administrative and governance support respectively.

Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, will spearhead the CSR program. It will have a separate Governing Board. Justice AS Anand, retired Chief Justice of India, will head the program.

The initiative will focus on Delhi & NCR and Punjab initially and will gradually expand presence to cover the entire North India through smaller regional offices. It will seek partnerships with like-minded corporates to have similar initiatives in the other parts of the country.

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