in Re – Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons - Supreme Court

 in Re – Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons - Supreme Court Important Judgment 2016 - 

 

On 5th February, 2016, in Re – Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons [Writ Petition (Civil) No.406 of 2013], it was held that prisoners, like all human beings, deserve to be treated with dignity and to give effect to this, following directions were issued by the Supreme Court: “(i) The Under Trial Review Committee in every district should meet every quarter and the first such meeting should take place on or before 31st March, 2016. The Secretary of the District Legal Services Committee should attend each meeting of the Under Trial Review Committee and follow up the discussions with appropriate steps for the release of undertrial prisoners and convicts who have undergone their sentence or are entitled to release because of remission granted to them; (ii) The Under Trial Review Committee should specifically look into aspects pertaining to effective implementation of Section 436 of the Cr.P.C. and Section 436A of the Cr.P.C. so that undertrial prisoners are released at the earliest and those who cannot furnish bail bonds due to their poverty are not subjected to incarceration only for that reason. The Under Trial Review Committee will also look into issue of implementation of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958 particularly with regard to first time offenders so that they have a chance of being restored and rehabilitated in society; (iii) The Member Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority of every State will ensure, in coordination with the Secretary of the District Legal Services Committee in every district, that an adequate number of competent lawyers are empanelled to assist undertrial prisoners and convicts, particularly the poor and indigent, and that legal aid for the poor does not become poor legal aid. (iv) The Secretary of the District Legal Services Committee will also look into the issue of the release of undertrial prisoners in compoundable offences, the effort being to effectively explore the possibility of compounding offences rather than requiring a trial to take place; (v) The Director General of Police/Inspector General of Police in-charge of prisons should ensure that there is proper and effective utilization of available funds so that the living conditions of the prisoners is commensurate with human dignity. This also includes the issue of their health, hygiene, food, clothing, rehabilitation etc. (vi) The Ministry of Home Affairs will ensure that the Management Information System is in place at the earliest in all the Central and District Jails as well as jails for women so that there is better and effective management of the prison and prisoners; (vii) The Ministry of Home Affairs will conduct an annual review of the implementation of the Model Prison Manual 2016 for which considerable efforts have been made not only by senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs but also persons from civil society. The Model Prison Manual 2016 should not be reduced to yet another document that might be reviewed only decades later, if at all. The annual review will also take into consideration the need, if any, of making changes therein; and (viii) The Under Trial Review Committee will also look into the issues raised in the Model Prison Manual 2016 including regular jail visits as suggested in the said Manual.”

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