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Indian Court Ruling Frees Prisoners

FILE - A policeman walks inside the Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

India's Supreme Court has ordered the release of all prison inmates awaiting trial who have served half of the maximum term they would receive if convicted.

The landmark ruling handed down Friday could affect hundred of thousands of prisoners.

The Supreme Court directive upholds the rarely implemented Indian law that prisoners awaiting trial must be released once they have served half the maximum sentence they would receive if found guilty.

The court ordered local judges and magistrates to oversee the process in prisons across the country beginning in October.