A policeman walks inside the Tihar Jail in New Delhi March 11, 2013. The driver of the bus in which a young Indian woman was gang-raped and fatally injured in December hanged himself in his jail cell on Monday, prison authorities said, but his family
A policeman walks inside the Tihar Jail in New Delhi March 11, 2013. The driver of the bus in which a young Indian woman was gang-raped and fatally injured in December hanged himself in his jail cell on Monday, prison authorities said, but his family

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.