S.O.S e – Voice For Justice – e-news weekly
Spreading the light of humanity & freedom
Editor: Nagaraja.M.R.. Vol.10..Issue.40….….04/10/2014
SC lays down directives for police encounters
The Supreme Court on Tuesday laid down stringent guidelines for police encounters to prevent fake encounter killings by police.
The top court said every intelligence input about armed terrorist movement must be recorded in writing, without disclosing vital information, by the police party before proceeding to nab them.
If the encounter results in death of any one, the police must immediately register an FIR and furnish a copy to the court having jurisdiction over the area.
The apex court said investigation into encounter deaths would be carried out by a SP rank officer from a different police district and not the same police which conducted the raid resulting in encounter death.
The court ruled that no policeman involved in encounter death should be given out of turn promotion or gallantry awards by the government till the investigations establish that it was a genuine encounter.
The Supreme Court also ordered that police probing encounter killing should submit status of probe every six months to the state human rights body and NHRC.
When the rich and the powerful get on the wrong side of the law, it’s the law that suffers the most. VIP offenders and convicts are often treated by law enforcers as VIPs and not as offenders or convicts. Security officials rolled out the red carpet for Jagir Kaur, former Minister in the Shiromani Akali Dal government in Punjab, following her conviction last week on charges of abduction and wrongful confinement of her daughter in 2000. Video footage from the Kapurthala jail captured the astonishing sight of officials rushing to touch the convict’s feet when she arrived at the prison complex ostensibly to serve out her term. Although Ms Kaur “resigned” as Minister immediately after her conviction, she appears to have lost none of the privileges that come with office. Twice president of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the powerful body responsible for the administration of gurudwaras, Ms Kaur wields considerable clout within the current government headed by Parkash Singh Badal. Opposition members have already demanded that she be shifted to a jail outside Punjab so she gets a taste of prison life as it is lived by countless other convicts.
Of course, Ms Kaur is not the first person to receive comforts and favours inside a prison cell. Industrialists and politicians convicted for fraud and violent crime have always found ways to carry over their material advantages in the vast, outside world into the confines of a prison. In many cases, they abuse the legal provisions governing incarceration to evade the full rigour of the law. It has, for example, become the done thing for celebrity undertrials and convicts to feign chest pain and seek refuge in high-end hospitals which curiously seem able to delay diagnosing the illness for as long as the patient wants. Stories of well-heeled undertrials being lavished attention in prisons — the 2G accused being a case in point — are a legion. The other trick in the book is parole; the reason for the excursion can be anything, a parent’s illness, the death of a relative, or simply the need to reconnect with the city’s social circuit. Manu Sharma, convicted in the Jessica Lal murder case, famously spent the parole period granted him (originally 30 days but extended by a month) partying, helped in no small measure by his benefactors in the Delhi government. India’s criminal justice system is lax, and many literally get away with murder. For a select few convicted by a court of law, the journey from home to prison brings no ordeal that they cannot bear. When the prison cell door clanks shut behind them, the VIP inmates manage to force open a window to freedom. That’s the sad truth.
1000 unlawful police detention cases in India every year, UP and Delhi lead
India laps up movie fare such as Singham, but the reality of policing hits harder home than a Rs. 100-crore plus flick. Such bitter reality hit students of the Jadavpur University during the early hours of Wednesday.
The Kolkata Police entered the university, allegedly dragged and injured students including girls, and detained many as they raged against the alleged sexual assault on a student after a college fest.
The city’s police chief claims his officers exercised restraint. The students believe otherwise and want the police punished. The students believe the police action was yet another instance of abuse of power.
In India, reel-life Singhams win popularity contests, those in real are on shaky ground. Here is a look at statistics, which give an inside view.
“In many parts of india, the police is the only visible state presence. police say that there is pressure from the public to punish crimes. this leads to the police acting as judge and jury, beating up suspects who are presumed guilty without trial ”
– Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia Director, Human Rights watch
Custodial violations include unlawful detention, illegal arrests, custodial deaths and torture. The numbers do not show the police in shining light.
Around 3,963 cases of unlawful detention were reported from 2011 till July this year. Of these cases, 3,069 have been disposed of and 894 are pending.
In the same period, 2,532 cases of illegal arrests were reported against the police —2,127 cases have been disposed of and 405 are pending.
Surprisingly, Delhi, a relatively small state, comes second in the number of illegal arrests, unlawful detention and tortures in police custody. Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, tops all the charts.
“The NHRC does not have enough investigative capacity. it often relies on the state human rights commissions, which are understaffed and ill equipped. often there are political appointments. to be effetive, these commissions should be truly independent”
– Meenakshi Ganguly
The figures used in this story are reported cases and the actual number may be higher.
Moreover, custodial deaths can also be due to ill-health, suicides, accidents and homicides among other causes.
Interestingly, the system is swift while disposing of cases of illegal arrests and unlawful detention, with a disposal rate of 84% and 77%.
ND Pancholi, President, Delhi chapter of the Poeple’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL) said, “There is no effort on the part of ruling parties to chart out police training which inculcates the feeling among police personnel that their prime responsibility is to the Constitution, rule of law and to the people”.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) takes note of these violations. In the period analysed, the NHRC filed 72 cases against illegal arrests and unlawful detention. It imposed a fine of Rs. 53 lakh. Disciplinary action was taken in 10 cases, but did not lead to any prosecutions.
The NHRC also filed around 242 cases against the police for deaths and torture. A fine of Rs. 6 crore was imposed on the police. Disciplinary action was taken in 13 cases. It led to just one prosecution.
Abuse by the police, however, is not solely an Indian problem. The US, a developed nation, has an average of 983 custodial deaths per year compared to 110 in India. China, on the other hand, is often under scrutiny over human rights.
A study by Amnesty International — more than 21,000 people in 21 countries participated in the survey — concluded that international rules against torture are implemented the least in India, along with Argentina, Mexico, Nigeria and Peru.
Interestingly, 74% respondents in India felt torture was justified to gain information.
MHA gives special treatment to convicted German drug kingpin
Once described as a kingpin of an international drug syndicate, a German national was given special treatment by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh clearing the repatriation of Christian Fell, who was convicted for possessing high quality drugs. Fell, now 43, was lodged in Tihar Jail since 2008 after he was arrested by the Narcotics Branch of Delhi police the same year. Cops claimed it to be the first ever seizure of LSD, a party drug, in the Capital. He was convicted in 2011 under the NDPS Act for 10 years of imprisonment.
Earlier this year, the German embassy based on the request received through Fell’s family started negotiating with the Indian authorities whether Fell can serve his remaining tenure of imprisonment in Germany. However, the UPA government kept the request pending but after Narendra Modi took over in May this year, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) again received a reference following which the repatriation of Fell was processed by way of a Gazette Notification in May this year.
Using the provision of repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003, to Federal Republic of Germany, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), helped Fell to be repatriated. Fell, who flew back to Germany, last week was given special clearance by DGCA on the request of the Home Ministry while the German Embassy made special arrangements for consular assistance at the Delhi Airport. According to the Home Ministry, Fell was supposed to spend the remaining numbers of years at a jail in Hamburg in Germany.
A senior Home Ministry official said, “He was convicted for 10 years out of which he had already spent 5 years in India. We considered his request on the humanitarian grounds where he will have to spend the rest of years at a German prison. Fell was transferred from the high security Tihar jail in a police van armed with the commandoes of Delhi Armed Police (DAP) , to IGI. He was accompanied by two escort officers from Germany, Kurt Walter, an inspector and Jorg Dieter Konitzer, an employee in police service. The duo also facilitated the emergency travel documents for Fell which was issued by the German embassy”.
Fell who was described by the police as a rebel is believed to have come to India in 1998 after leaving his home at the age of 16. At Tihar, he also taught music during his initial years of prison term but later reported to have developed mental disorder following which the doctors advised him extra care. As a teenager, Fell is also believed to have acted in some movies in Hamburg in Germany. During his stay in India, he visited Hampi, Goa, Kathmandu and other tourist destinations, but was finally nabbed from Paharganj.
Saradha scam: TMC leader royally treated in jail
Rajat Majumder, former director general of police and Trinamool Congress leader, who was arrested in connection with the multi-crore Saradha scam, is being given a royal treatment behind bars.
Just after stepping into Alipore central jail on September 19, Majumder was immediately taken to the jail hospital, where doctors reported him ‘sick’. “Normally, inmates are not kept in jail ward until critically ill,” said a senior officer of Alipore central jail.
“No inmate gets what Majumder is getting. He has tremendous clout and a section of officers are helping him. Jail hospital attendants and one of inmates are running errands 24 hours for him. This is apart from the comforts of jail hospital, with clean bed, special food. No inmate can get four to five newspapers, which he avails,” said a jail officer.
Majumder is given a choice breakfast of toast, eggs, honey, fruits and milk. His meals include preparations of fish, chicken or mutton of his choice, along with vegetables and daal.
Majumder was recently also allowed ‘close interview’ with some of his known ones in the officers room of Alipore jail, which sources say in uncommon for inmates. Majumder was a security consultant for Saradha group and president of some of its companies.
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
Adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977
- The following rules are not intended to describe in detail a model system of penal institutions. They seek only, on the basis of the general consensus of contemporary thought and the essential elements of the most adequate systems of today, to set out what is generally accepted as being good principle and practice in the treatment of prisoners and the management of institutions.
- In view of the great variety of legal, social, economic and geographical conditions of the world, it is evident that not all of the rules are capable of application in all places and at all times. They should, however, serve to stimulate a constant endeavour to overcome practical difficulties in the way of their application, in the knowledge that they represent, as a whole, the minimum conditions which are accepted as suitable by the United Nations.
- On the other hand, the rules cover a field in which thought is constantly developing. They are not intended to preclude experiment and practices, provided these are in harmony with the principles and seek to further the purposes which derive from the text of the rules as a whole. It will always be justifiable for the central prison administration to authorize departures from the rules in this spirit.
- (1) Part I of the rules covers the general management of institutions, and is applicable to all categories of prisoners, criminal or civil, untried or convicted, including prisoners subject to “security measures” or corrective measures ordered by the judge.
(2) Part II contains rules applicable only to the special categories dealt with in each section. Nevertheless, the rules under section A, applicable to prisoners under sentence, shall be equally applicable to categories of prisoners dealt with in sections B, C and D, provided they do not conflict with the rules governing those categories and are for their benefit.
- (1) The rules do not seek to regulate the management of institutions set aside for young persons such as Borstal institutions or correctional schools, but in general part I would be equally applicable in such institutions.
(2) The category of young prisoners should include at least all young persons who come within the jurisdiction of juvenile courts. As a rule, such young persons should not be sentenced to imprisonment.
RULES OF GENERAL APPLICATION
- (1) The following rules shall be applied impartially. There shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
(2) On the other hand, it is necessary to respect the religious beliefs and moral precepts of the group to which a prisoner belongs.
- (1) In every place where persons are imprisoned there shall be kept a bound registration book with numbered pages in which shall be entered in respect of each prisoner received:
(a) Information concerning his identity;
(b) The reasons for his commitment and the authority therefor;
(c) The day and hour of his admission and release.
(2) No person shall be received in an institution without a valid commitment order of which the details shall have been previously entered in the register.
Separation of categories
- The different categories of prisoners shall be kept in separate institutions or parts of institutions taking account of their sex, age, criminal record, the legal reason for their detention and the necessities of their treatment. Thus,
(a) Men and women shall so far as possible be detained in separate institutions; in an institution which receives both men and women the whole of the premises allocated to women shall be entirely separate;
(b) Untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoners;
(c) Persons imprisoned for debt and other civil prisoners shall be kept separate from persons imprisoned by reason of a criminal offence;
(d) Young prisoners shall be kept separate from adults.
- (1) Where sleeping accommodation is in individual cells or rooms, each prisoner shall occupy by night a cell or room by himself. If for special reasons, such as temporary overcrowding, it becomes necessary for the central prison administration to make an exception to this rule, it is not desirable to have two prisoners in a cell or room.
(2) Where dormitories are used, they shall be occupied by prisoners carefully selected as being suitable to associate with one another in those conditions. There shall be regular supervision by night, in keeping with the nature of the institution.
- All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.
- In all places where prisoners are required to live or work,
(a) The windows shall be large enough to enable the prisoners to read or work by natural light, and shall be so constructed that they can allow the entrance of fresh air whether or not there is artificial ventilation;
(b) Artificial light shall be provided sufficient for the prisoners to read or work without injury to eyesight.
- The sanitary installations shall be adequate to enable every prisoner to comply with the needs of nature when necessary and in a clean and decent manner.
- Adequate bathing and shower installations shall be provided so that every prisoner may be enabled and required to have a bath or shower, at a temperature suitable to the climate, as frequently as necessary for general hygiene according to season and geographical region, but at least once a week in a temperate climate.
- All parts of an institution regularly used by prisoners shall be properly maintained and kept scrupulously clean at all times.
- Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.
- In order that prisoners may maintain a good appearance compatible with their self-respect, facilities shall be provided for the proper care of the hair and beard, and men shall be enabled to shave regularly.
Clothing and bedding
- (1) Every prisoner who is not allowed to wear his own clothing shall be provided with an outfit of clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to keep him in good health. Such clothing shall in no manner be degrading or humiliating.
(2) All clothing shall be clean and kept in proper condition. Underclothing shall be changed and washed as often as necessary for the maintenance of hygiene.
(3) In exceptional circumstances, whenever a prisoner is removed outside the institution for an authorized purpose, he shall be allowed to wear his own clothing or other inconspicuous clothing.
- If prisoners are allowed to wear their own clothing, arrangements shall be made on their admission to the institution to ensure that it shall be clean and fit for use.
- Every prisoner shall, in accordance with local or national standards, be provided with a separate bed, and with separate and sufficient bedding which shall be clean when issued, kept in good order and changed often enough to ensure its cleanliness.
- (1) Every prisoner shall be provided by the administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.
(2) Drinking water shall be available to every prisoner whenever he needs it.
Exercise and sport
- (1) Every prisoner who is not employed in outdoor work shall have at least one hour of suitable exercise in the open air daily if the weather permits.
(2) Young prisoners, and others of suitable age and physique, shall receive physical and recreational training during the period of exercise. To this end space, installations and equipment should be provided.
- (1) At every institution there shall be available the services of at least one qualified medical officer who should have some knowledge of psychiatry. The medical services should be organized in close relationship to the general health administration of the community or nation. They shall include a psychiatric service for the diagnosis and, in proper cases, the treatment of states of mental abnormality.
(2) Sick prisoners who require specialist treatment shall be transferred to specialized institutions or to civil hospitals. Where hospital facilities are provided in an institution, their equipment, furnishings and pharmaceutical supplies shall be proper for the medical care and treatment of sick prisoners, and there shall be a staff of suitable trained officers.
(3) The services of a qualified dental officer shall be available to every prisoner.
- (1) In women’s institutions there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care and treatment. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be born in a hospital outside the institution. If a child is born in prison, this fact shall not be mentioned in the birth certificate.
(2) Where nursing infants are allowed to remain in the institution with their mothers, provision shall be made for a nursery staffed by qualified persons, where the infants shall be placed when they are not in the care of their mothers.
- The medical officer shall see and examine every prisoner as soon as possible after his admission and thereafter as necessary, with a view particularly to the discovery of physical or mental illness and the taking of all necessary measures; the segregation of prisoners suspected of infectious or contagious conditions; the noting of physical or mental defects which might hamper rehabilitation, and the determination of the physical capacity of every prisoner for work.
- (1) The medical officer shall have the care of the physical and mental health of the prisoners and should daily see all sick prisoners, all who complain of illness, and any prisoner to whom his attention is specially directed.
(2) The medical officer shall report to the director whenever he considers that a prisoner’s physical or mental health has been or will be injuriously affected by continued imprisonment or by any condition of imprisonment.
- (1) The medical officer shall regularly inspect and advise the director upon:
(a) The quantity, quality, preparation and service of food;
(b) The hygiene and cleanliness of the institution and the prisoners;
(c) The sanitation, heating, lighting and ventilation of the institution;
(d) The suitability and cleanliness of the prisoners’ clothing and bedding;
(e) The observance of the rules concerning physical education and sports, in cases where there is no technical personnel in charge of these activities.
(2) The director shall take into consideration the reports and advice that the medical officer submits according to rules 25 (2) and 26 and, in case he concurs with the recommendations made, shall take immediate steps to give effect to those recommendations; if they are not within his competence or if he does not concur with them, he shall immediately submit his own report and the advice of the medical officer to higher authority.
Discipline and punishment
- Discipline and order shall be maintained with firmness, but with no more restriction than is necessary for safe custody and well-ordered community life.
- (1) No prisoner shall be employed, in the service of the institution, in any disciplinary capacity.
(2) This rule shall not, however, impede the proper functioning of systems based on self-government, under which specified social, educational or sports activities or responsibilities are entrusted, under supervision, to prisoners who are formed into groups for the purposes of treatment.
- The following shall always be determined by the law or by the regulation of the competent administrative authority:
(a) Conduct constituting a disciplinary offence;
(b) The types and duration of punishment which may be inflicted;
(c) The authority competent to impose such punishment.
- (1) No prisoner shall be punished except in accordance with the terms of such law or regulation, and never twice for the same offence.
(2) No prisoner shall be punished unless he has been informed of the offence alleged against him and given a proper opportunity of presenting his defence. The competent authority shall conduct a thorough examination of the case.
(3) Where necessary and practicable the prisoner shall be allowed to make his defence through an interpreter.
- Corporal punishment, punishment by placing in a dark cell, and all cruel, inhuman or degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited as punishments for disciplinary offences.
- (1) Punishment by close confinement or reduction of diet shall never be inflicted unless the medical officer has examined the prisoner and certified in writing that he is fit to sustain it.
(2) The same shall apply to any other punishment that may be prejudicial to the physical or mental health of a prisoner. In no case may such punishment be contrary to or depart from the principle stated in rule 31.
(3) The medical officer shall visit daily prisoners undergoing such punishments and shall advise the director if he considers the termination or alteration of the punishment necessary on grounds of physical or mental health.
Instruments of restraint
- Instruments of restraint, such as handcuffs, chains, irons and strait-jackets, shall never be applied as a punishment. Furthermore, chains or irons shall not be used as restraints. Other instruments of restraint shall not be used except in the following circumstances:
(a) As a precaution against escape during a transfer, provided that they shall be removed when the prisoner appears before a judicial or administrative authority;
(b) On medical grounds by direction of the medical officer;
(c) By order of the director, if other methods of control fail, in order to prevent a prisoner from injuring himself or others or from damaging property; in such instances the director shall at once consult the medical officer and report to the higher administrative authority.
- The patterns and manner of use of instruments of restraint shall be decided by the central prison administration. Such instruments must not be applied for any longer time than is strictly necessary.
Information to and complaints by prisoners
- (1) Every prisoner on admission shall be provided with written information about the regulations governing the treatment of prisoners of his category, the disciplinary requirements of the institution, the authorized methods of seeking information and making complaints, and all such other matters as are necessary to enable him to understand both his rights and his obligations and to adapt himself to the life of the institution.
(2) If a prisoner is illiterate, the aforesaid information shall be conveyed to him orally.
- (1) Every prisoner shall have the opportunity each week day of making requests or complaints to the director of the institution or the officer authorized to represent him.
(2) It shall be possible to make requests or complaints to the inspector of prisons during his inspection. The prisoner shall have the opportunity to talk to the inspector or to any other inspecting officer without the director or other members of the staff being present.
(3) Every prisoner shall be allowed to make a request or complaint, without censorship as to substance but in proper form, to the central prison administration, the judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels.
(4) Unless it is evidently frivolous or groundless, every request or complaint shall be promptly dealt with and replied to without undue delay.
Contact with the outside world
- Prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits.
- (1) Prisoners who are foreign nationals shall be allowed reasonable facilities to communicate with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the State to which they belong.
(2) Prisoners who are nationals of States without diplomatic or consular representation in the country and refugees or stateless persons shall be allowed similar facilities to communicate with the diplomatic representative of the State which takes charge of their interests or any national or international authority whose task it is to protect such persons.
- Prisoners shall be kept informed regularly of the more important items of news by the reading of newspapers, periodicals or special institutional publications, by hearing wireless transmissions, by lectures or by any similar means as authorized or controlled by the administration.
- Every institution shall have a library for the use of all categories of prisoners, adequately stocked with both recreational and instructional books, and prisoners shall be encouraged to make full use of it.
- (1) If the institution contains a sufficient number of prisoners of the same religion, a qualified representative of that religion shall be appointed or approved. If the number of prisoners justifies it and conditions permit, the arrangement should be on a full-time basis.
(2) A qualified representative appointed or approved under paragraph (1) shall be allowed to hold regular services and to pay pastoral visits in private to prisoners of his religion at proper times.
(3) Access to a qualified representative of any religion shall not be refused to any prisoner. On the other hand, if any prisoner should object to a visit of any religious representative, his attitude shall be fully respected.
- So far as practicable, every prisoner shall be allowed to satisfy the needs of his religious life by attending the services provided in the institution and having in his possession the books of religious observance and instruction of his denomination.
Retention of prisoners’ property
- (1) All money, valuables, clothing and other effects belonging to a prisoner which under the regulations of the institution he is not allowed to retain shall on his admission to the institution be placed in safe custody. An inventory thereof shall be signed by the prisoner. Steps shall be taken to keep them in good condition.
(2) On the release of the prisoner all such articles and money shall be returned to him except in so far as he has been authorized to spend money or send any such property out of the institution, or it has been found necessary on hygienic grounds to destroy any article of clothing. The prisoner shall sign a receipt for the articles and money returned to him.
(3) Any money or effects received for a prisoner from outside shall be treated in the same way.
(4) If a prisoner brings in any drugs or medicine, the medical officer shall decide what use shall be made of them.
Notification of death, illness, transfer, etc.
- (1) Upon the death or serious illness of, or serious injury to a prisoner, or his removal to an institution for the treatment of mental affections, the director shall at once inform the spouse, if the prisoner is married, or the nearest relative and shall in any event inform any other person previously designated by the prisoner.
(2) A prisoner shall be informed at once of the death or serious illness of any near relative. In case of the critical illness of a near relative, the prisoner should be authorized, whenever circumstances allow, to go to his bedside either under escort or alone.
(3) Every prisoner shall have the right to inform at once his family of his imprisonment or his transfer to another institution.
Removal of prisoners
- (1) When the prisoners are being removed to or from an institution, they shall be exposed to public view as little as possible, and proper safeguards shall be adopted to protect them from insult, curiosity and publicity in any form.
(2) The transport of prisoners in conveyances with inadequate ventilation or light, or in any way which would subject them to unnecessary physical hardship, shall be prohibited.
(3) The transport of prisoners shall be carried out at the expense of the administration and equal conditions shall obtain for all of them.
- (1) The prison administration shall provide for the careful selection of every grade of the personnel, since it is on their integrity, humanity, professional capacity and personal suitability for the work that the proper administration of the institutions depends.
(2) The prison administration shall constantly seek to awaken and maintain in the minds both of the personnel and of the public the conviction that this work is a social service of great importance, and to this end all appropriate means of informing the public should be used.
(3) To secure the foregoing ends, personnel shall be appointed on a full-time basis as professional prison officers and have civil service status with security of tenure subject only to good conduct, efficiency and physical fitness. Salaries shall be adequate to attract and retain suitable men and women; employment benefits and conditions of service shall be favourable in view of the exacting nature of the work.
- (1) The personnel shall possess an adequate standard of education and intelligence.
(2) Before entering on duty, the personnel shall be given a course of training in their general and specific duties and be required to pass theoretical and practical tests.
(3) After entering on duty and during their career, the personnel shall maintain and improve their knowledge and professional capacity by attending courses of in-service training to be organized at suitable intervals.
- All members of the personnel shall at all times so conduct themselves and perform their duties as to influence the prisoners for good by their example and to command their respect.
- (1) So far as possible, the personnel shall include a sufficient number of specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, teachers and trade instructors.
(2) The services of social workers, teachers and trade instructors shall be secured on a permanent basis, without thereby excluding part-time or voluntary workers.
- (1) The director of an institution should be adequately qualified for his task by character, administrative ability, suitable training and experience.
(2) He shall devote his entire time to his official duties and shall not be appointed on a part-time basis.
(3) He shall reside on the premises of the institution or in its immediate vicinity.
(4) When two or more institutions are under the authority of one director, he shall visit each of them at frequent intervals. A responsible resident official shall be in charge of each of these institutions.
- (1) The director, his deputy, and the majority of the other personnel of the institution shall be able to speak the language of the greatest number of prisoners, or a language understood by the greatest number of them.
(2) Whenever necessary, the services of an interpreter shall be used.
- (1) In institutions which are large enough to require the services of one or more full-time medical officers, at least one of them shall reside on the premises of the institution or in its immediate vicinity.
(2) In other institutions the medical officer shall visit daily and shall reside near enough to be able to attend without delay in cases of urgency.
- (1) In an institution for both men and women, the part of the institution set aside for women shall be under the authority of a responsible woman officer who shall have the custody of the keys of all that part of the institution.
(2) No male member of the staff shall enter the part of the institution set aside for women unless accompanied by a woman officer.
(3) Women prisoners shall be attended and supervised only by women officers. This does not, however, preclude male members of the staff, particularly doctors and teachers, from carrying out their professional duties in institutions or parts of institutions set aside for women.
- (1) Officers of the institutions shall not, in their relations with the prisoners, use force except in self-defence or in cases of attempted escape, or active or passive physical resistance to an order based on law or regulations. Officers who have recourse to force must use no more than is strictly necessary and must report the incident immediately to the director of the institution.
(2) Prison officers shall be given special physical training to enable them to restrain aggressive prisoners.
(3) Except in special circumstances, staff performing duties which bring them into direct contact with prisoners should not be armed. Furthermore, staff should in no circumstances be provided with arms unless they have been trained in their use.
- There shall be a regular inspection of penal institutions and services by qualified and experienced inspectors appointed by a competent authority. Their task shall be in particular to ensure that these institutions are administered in accordance with existing laws and regulations and with a view to bringing about the objectives of penal and correctional services.
RULES APPLICABLE TO SPECIAL CATEGORIES
- Prisoners under sentence
- The guiding principles hereafter are intended to show the spirit in which penal institutions should be administered and the purposes at which they should aim, in accordance with the declaration made under Preliminary Observation 1 of the present text.
- Imprisonment and other measures which result in cutting off an offender from the outside world are afflictive by the very fact of taking from the person the right of self-determination by depriving him of his liberty. Therefore the prison system shall not, except as incidental to justifiable segregation or the maintenance of discipline, aggravate the suffering inherent in such a situation.
- The purpose and justification of a sentence of imprisonment or a similar measure deprivative of liberty is ultimately to protect society against crime. This end can only be achieved if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, that upon his return to society the offender is not only willing but able to lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life.
- To this end, the institution should utilize all the remedial, educational, moral, spiritual and other forces and forms of assistance which are appropriate and available, and should seek to apply them according to the individual treatment needs of the prisoners.
- (1) The regime of the institution should seek to minimize any differences between prison life and life at liberty which tend to lessen the responsibility of the prisoners or the respect due to their dignity as human beings.
(2) Before the completion of the sentence, it is desirable that the necessary steps be taken to ensure for the prisoner a gradual return to life in society. This aim may be achieved, depending on the case, by a pre-release regime organized in the same institution or in another appropriate institution, or by release on trial under some kind of supervision which must not be entrusted to the police but should be combined with effective social aid.
- The treatment of prisoners should emphasize not their exclusion from the community, but their continuing part in it. Community agencies should, therefore, be enlisted wherever possible to assist the staff of the institution in the task of social rehabilitation of the prisoners. There should be in connection with every institution social workers charged with the duty of maintaining and improving all desirable relations of a prisoner with his family and with valuable social agencies. Steps should be taken to safeguard, to the maximum extent compatible with the law and the sentence, the rights relating to civil interests, social security rights and other social benefits of prisoners.
- The medical services of the institution shall seek to detect and shall treat any physical or mental illnesses or defects which may hamper a prisoner’s rehabilitation. All necessary medical, surgical and psychiatric services shall be provided to that end.
- (1) The fulfilment of these principles requires individualization of treatment and for this purpose a flexible system of classifying prisoners in groups; it is therefore desirable that such groups should be distributed in separate institutions suitable for the treatment of each group.
(2) These institutions need not provide the same degree of security for every group. It is desirable to provide varying degrees of security according to the needs of different groups. Open institutions, by the very fact that they provide no physical security against escape but rely on the self-discipline of the inmates, provide the conditions most favourable to rehabilitation for carefully selected prisoners.
(3) It is desirable that the number of prisoners in closed institutions should not be so large that the individualization of treatment is hindered. In some countries it is considered that the population of such institutions should not exceed five hundred. In open institutions the population should be as small as possible.
(4) On the other hand, it is undesirable to maintain prisons which are so small that proper facilities cannot be provided.
- The duty of society does not end with a prisoner’s release. There should, therefore, be governmental or private agencies capable of lending the released prisoner efficient after-care directed towards the lessening of prejudice against him and towards his social rehabilitation.
- The treatment of persons sentenced to imprisonment or a similar measure shall have as its purpose, so far as the length of the sentence permits, to establish in them the will to lead law-abiding and self-supporting lives after their release and to fit them to do so. The treatment shall be such as will encourage their self-respect and develop their sense of responsibility.
- (1) To these ends, all appropriate means shall be used, including religious care in the countries where this is possible, education, vocational guidance and training, social casework, employment counselling, physical development and strengthening of moral character, in accordance with the individual needs of each prisoner, taking account of his social and criminal history, his physical and mental capacities and aptitudes, his personal temperament, the length of his sentence and his prospects after release.
(2) For every prisoner with a sentence of suitable length, the director shall receive, as soon as possible after his admission, full reports on all the matters referred to in the foregoing paragraph. Such reports shall always include a report by a medical officer, wherever possible qualified in psychiatry, on the physical and mental condition of the prisoner.
(3) The reports and other relevant documents shall be placed in an individual file. This file shall be kept up to date and classified in such a way that it can be consulted by the responsible personnel whenever the need arises.
Classification and individualization
- The purposes of classification shall be:
(a) To separate from others those prisoners who, by reason of their criminal records or bad characters, are likely to exercise a bad influence;
(b) To divide the prisoners into classes in order to facilitate their treatment with a view to their social rehabilitation.
- So far as possible separate institutions or separate sections of an institution shall be used for the treatment of the different classes of prisoners.
- As soon as possible after admission and after a study of the personality of each prisoner with a sentence of suitable length, a programme of treatment shall be prepared for him in the light of the knowledge obtained about his individual needs, his capacities and dispositions.
- Systems of privileges appropriate for the different classes of prisoners and the different methods of treatment shall be established at every institution, in order to encourage good conduct, develop a sense of responsibility and secure the interest and co-operation of the prisoners in their treatment.
- (1) Prison labour must not be of an afflictive nature.
(2) All prisoners under sentence shall be required to work, subject to their physical and mental fitness as determined by the medical officer.
(3) Sufficient work of a useful nature shall be provided to keep prisoners actively employed for a normal working day.
(4) So far as possible the work provided shall be such as will maintain or increase the prisoners, ability to earn an honest living after release.
(5) Vocational training in useful trades shall be provided for prisoners able to profit thereby and especially for young prisoners.
(6) Within the limits compatible with proper vocational selection and with the requirements of institutional administration and discipline, the prisoners shall be able to choose the type of work they wish to perform.
- (1) The organization and methods of work in the institutions shall resemble as closely as possible those of similar work outside institutions, so as to prepare prisoners for the conditions of normal occupational life.
(2) The interests of the prisoners and of their vocational training, however, must not be subordinated to the purpose of making a financial profit from an industry in the institution.
- (1) Preferably institutional industries and farms should be operated directly by the administration and not by private contractors.
(2) Where prisoners are employed in work not controlled by the administration, they shall always be under the supervision of the institution’s personnel. Unless the work is for other departments of the government the full normal wages for such work shall be paid to the administration by the persons to whom the labour is supplied, account being taken of the output of the prisoners.
- (1) The precautions laid down to protect the safety and health of free workmen shall be equally observed in institutions.
(2) Provision shall be made to indemnify prisoners against industrial injury, including occupational disease, on terms not less favourable than those extended by law to free workmen.
- (1) The maximum daily and weekly working hours of the prisoners shall be fixed by law or by administrative regulation, taking into account local rules or custom in regard to the employment of free workmen.
(2) The hours so fixed shall leave one rest day a week and sufficient time for education and other activities required as part of the treatment and rehabilitation of the prisoners.
- (1) There shall be a system of equitable remuneration of the work of prisoners.
(2) Under the system prisoners shall be allowed to spend at least a part of their earnings on approved articles for their own use and to send a part of their earnings to their family.
(3) The system should also provide that a part of the earnings should be set aside by the administration so as to constitute a savings fund to be handed over to the prisoner on his release.
Education and recreation
- (1) Provision shall be made for the further education of all prisoners capable of profiting thereby, including religious instruction in the countries where this is possible. The education of illiterates and young prisoners shall be compulsory and special attention shall be paid to it by the administration.
(2) So far as practicable, the education of prisoners shall be integrated with the educational system of the country so that after their release they may continue their education without difficulty.
- Recreational and cultural activities shall be provided in all institutions for the benefit of the mental and physical health of prisoners.
Social relations and after-care
- Special attention shall be paid to the maintenance and improvement of such relations between a prisoner and his family as are desirable in the best interests of both.
- From the beginning of a prisoner’s sentence consideration shall be given to his future after release and he shall be encouraged and assisted to maintain or establish such relations with persons or agencies outside the institution as may promote the best interests of his family and his own social rehabilitation.
- (1) Services and agencies, governmental or otherwise, which assist released prisoners to re-establish themselves in society shall ensure, so far as is possible and necessary, that released prisoners be provided with appropriate documents and identification papers, have suitable s and work to go to, are suitably and adequately clothed having regard to the climate and season, and have sufficient means to reach their destination and maintain themselves in the period immediately following their release.
(2) The approved representatives of such agencies shall have all necessary access to the institution and to prisoners and shall be taken into consultation as to the future of a prisoner from the beginning of his sentence.
(3) It is desirable that the activities of such agencies shall be centralized or co-ordinated as far as possible in order to secure the best use of their efforts.
- Insane and mentally abnormal prisoners
- (1) Persons who are found to be insane shall not be detained in prisons and arrangements shall be made to remove them to mental institutions as soon as possible.
(2) Prisoners who suffer from other mental diseases or abnormalities shall be observed and treated in specialized institutions under medical management.
(3) During their stay in a prison, such prisoners shall be placed under the special supervision of a medical officer.
(4) The medical or psychiatric service of the penal institutions shall provide for the psychiatric treatment of all other prisoners who are in need of such treatment.
- It is desirable that steps should be taken, by arrangement with the appropriate agencies, to ensure if necessary the continuation of psychiatric treatment after release and the provision of social-psychiatric after-care.
- Prisoners under arrest or awaiting trial
- (1) Persons arrested or imprisoned by reason of a criminal charge against them, who are detained either in police custody or in prison custody (jail) but have not yet been tried and sentenced, will be referred to as “untried prisoners” hereinafter in these rules.
(2) Unconvicted prisoners are presumed to be innocent and shall be treated as such.
(3) Without prejudice to legal rules for the protection of individual liberty or prescribing the procedure to be observed in respect of untried prisoners, these prisoners shall benefit by a special regime which is described in the following rules in its essential requirements only.
- (1) Untried prisoners shall be kept separate from convicted prisoners.
(2) Young untried prisoners shall be kept separate from adults and shall in principle be detained in separate institutions.
- Untried prisoners shall sleep singly in separate rooms, with the reservation of different local custom in respect of the climate.
- Within the limits compatible with the good order of the institution, untried prisoners may, if they so desire, have their food procured at their own expense from the outside, either through the administration or through their family or friends. Otherwise, the administration shall provide their food.
- (1) An untried prisoner shall be allowed to wear his own clothing if it is clean and suitable.
(2) If he wears prison dress, it shall be different from that supplied to convicted prisoners.
- An untried prisoner shall always be offered opportunity to work, but shall not be required to work. If he chooses to work, he shall be paid for it.
- An untried prisoner shall be allowed to procure at his own expense or at the expense of a third party such books, newspapers, writing materials and other means of occupation as are compatible with the interests of the administration of justice and the security and good order of the institution.
- An untried prisoner shall be allowed to be visited and treated by his own doctor or dentist if there is reasonable ground for his application and he is able to pay any expenses incurred.
- An untried prisoner shall be allowed to inform immediately his family of his detention and shall be given all reasonable facilities for communicating with his family and friends, and for receiving visits from them, subject only to restrictions and supervision as are necessary in the interests of the administration of justice and of the security and good order of the institution.
- For the purposes of his defence, an untried prisoner shall be allowed to apply for free legal aid where such aid is available, and to receive visits from his legal adviser with a view to his defence and to prepare and hand to him confidential instructions. For these purposes, he shall if he so desires be supplied with writing material. Interviews between the prisoner and his legal adviser may be within sight but not within the hearing of a police or institution official.
- Civil prisoners
- In countries where the law permits imprisonment for debt, or by order of a court under any other non-criminal process, persons so imprisoned shall not be subjected to any greater restriction or severity than is necessary to ensure safe custody and good order. Their treatment shall be not less favourable than that of untried prisoners, with the reservation, however, that they may possibly be required to work.
- Persons arrested or detained without charge
- Without prejudice to the provisions of article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, persons arrested or imprisoned without charge shall be accorded the same protection as that accorded under part I and part II, section C. Relevant provisions of part II, section A, shall likewise be applicable where their application may be conducive to the benefit of this special group of persons in custody, provided that no measures shall be taken implying that re-education or rehabilitation is in any way appropriate to persons not convicted of any criminal offence.
Jails in India : An Investigation
By Raman Nanda
(From PUCL Bulletin, Nov 1981)
Case Study: Tihar, Delhi
Case Study: Arrah, Bihar
Case Study: Sakchi, Jamshedpur
Any discussion on prisoners in a sympathetic manner evokes a sharp response: “Why should you worry about these people? They are dangerous criminals, murderers and rapists, why complain if they are ill treated ? They deserve it.” In the popular mind, prisoners are dangerous criminals and hence deserve no mercy. No wonder the local population of Bhagalpur-and many outside-supported the Bhagalpur blinding.
The notion that prisoners are dangerous criminals assumes that our police is, in the first instance, able to nab the culprits- dacoits, murderers, black marketers, smugglers; that prosecution then does take place; that notwithstanding the delays, criminals are convicted-whether they are rich or poor.
Who are the people in jails ? Are they dangerous criminals, a threat to society ? Our investigations establish that a majority are either under-trials or those picked up for other reasons.
In Tihar Jail, in the capital of India, children are simply kidnapped from the streets and made to do all the menial work; the police who act in liaison with the jail staff do not pick up the rich people’s children. Those nabbed are the poor, without a home, who sleep on the pavements or in a public park. The criminal charge against them is vagrancy !
Kuldip Nayar, who spent some time in Tihar Jail during the Emergency, writes: “The slaves were boys between ten and eighteen, employed as ‘helpers’, and there were scores of them. They cooked, washed uten-sils, cleaned rooms, fetched water and did much back-breaking labour to ‘help’ those who were paid to do these chores.”
They would be woken up before six to prepare morning tea and would be allowed to sleep around 10 at night after scrubbing pots and pans. They were herded into a ward which had no sanitary facilities, but were always well lit all night to enable a sleepy warder to check at a glance if they were all there. The warder explained that whenever the number of prisoners in jails xvent up, the police were asked to bring boys to help with the chores.
One is inclined to believe that Delhi is not an excep-tion. For jails in many places are overcrowded and naturally the jail staff needs “helpers.” The slave system in varying degrees may well be prevalent in jails in other states.
Poverty, Vagrancy and Prostitution
About inmates in Hissar Jail, Primila Lewis has this to say : “Arrested on a charge of ‘awara gardi’ under the famous Section 169 of the Indian Penal Code for vagrancy, Piloo…. could not have been more than sixteen-years-old. She stayed with us a few weeks and then got out on bail provided for her by a constable in return for a spell with him as his mistress.
“This we learned was a routine occurrence. Single warders or policemen would offer to stand bail for these feckless young girls knowing that they were orphans and without help, in return for temporary or long term cohabitation.”
I was told of a similar instance from Khetri Jail, Rajasthan, where two jailers bailed out a woman and kept her for a week. In Central Jail, Jaipur, my friend heard a woman prisoner refusing bail arranged for her by another woman, a prisoner acting as a go-between, “I know why you want me out of jail.” The All Bengal Women’s Association report on women prisoners in Presidency Jail, Calcutta, in 1974 highlights similar incidents.
Then there is the story of Meena: “Meena had arri-ved (in Elissar Jail) in a fearful state, unable to walk, her rectum and vaginal area torn and bleeding, and raving like a lunatic. She had been kept in police custody for twenty-two days after her arrest and every day she had been raped by five or six policemen in succession. Practically deranged by this experience, she was then handed over to jail authorities. She screamed and sobbed and threatened to jump on the thanedar or sub-inspector just as he and his cohorts had ‘jumped.’ The sub-inspector of police shook his head sadly. ‘She is mad’, he. said, and the jail autho-rities asked no more questions.”
Meena’s crime-brought from a village in Nepal by a brahmin.. . .left alone… vagabond… She was sentenced to seven days simple imprisonment. So, that was her “simple imprisonment”. One may go on and on. The victims invariably are the poor.
And then there are the prisoners from Hazaribagh and Jamshedpur jails who Mary Tyler describes: “Nearest to the bars slept Bulkani, old, skinny and asthmatic, a retired colliery worker, in prison without trial for three years already, on a petty theft charge..”
She cites the case of 55-year-old Gulabi : “Together with four other labourers she had been harvesting paddy on a landlord’s field, unaware that the ownership of that particular land was disputed by his cousin who promptly had all the labourers, and the man who had employed them, arrested for stealing his paddy. Ironi-cally, the two landowners settled their quarrel and Gulabi’s employer was released from jail, while the labourers remained behind bars. Gulabi had been in prison for nearly three years.. . . without once seeing the magistrate.”
Mary Tyler goes on: “A child was brought into our care. Her father, a widowed coal miner, had gone on hunger strike outside the colliery manager’s office after being redundant. On the fifth day he had been arres-ted and since there was nobody to look after his three-year-old daughter, he had been obliged to bring her to jail with him.”
In the Women’s Reformatory, Jaipur, as on July 1, 1981, out of a total number of 40 convicts, nine were charged with murder and attempted suicide. Eight of them were fed up with life for various reasons (poverty, fight with in-laws).
Once is not Enough
If you are poor and have once landed in jail-for whatever reason or no reason-the probability of your being back in jail off and on is fairly high. This is the impression I gathered from my talk with some of the under-trials in Jaipur Central Jail. “When you are an undertrial and go to the court every fortnight, the people, policemen everybody watches you.. . . You are a ‘criminal’. You will be nabbed again as a suspect when-ever anything goes wrong in your locality. At the police lock-up you will be beaten (if you do not bribe them) to extort a ‘confession’.”
“These policemen,” another undertrial said with anger, “ask you to steal and demand their hafta (share). If you do not have the ill-gotten money, how will you give them? And if you don’t, they will throw you in jail. What does one do? Keep away from crime and land in jail? Or, do all the wrongs, give the dogs their share and be a free man outside?”
Often when an undertrial is to be released, the jail authorities hold him and ring up all the police stations if they “need” him There is many an instance of a prisoner released by court and re-arrested at the jail gate itself on some other charge. These tactics have been used consistently against the political acti-vists of all hues in general and the so-called Naxalites in particular.
While some are physically prevented by the police from going to the court, others-and there are reports to this effect-by sheer poverty may not be able to get money to meet the travelling and bail expense. Absence in court…, warrants issued… . back to jail.
The reader might well ask, “You are trying to appeal to our emotions.”
Well, yes, for why should one look at things in an emotionless manner ? Figures, however convincing- and I shall cite statistics as also official statements— tend to hide the intense human misery.
According to the 78th report of the Law Commission as on April 1, 1977, of a total prison population of 1,84,169, as many as 1,01,083 (roughly 55%) were under-trials. For specific jails, some other reports show: Secunderabad Central Jail- 80 per cent under-trials; Surat-78 per cent under-trials; Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya-66 per cent under-trials.
Most under-trials are for petty offences (charges whose veracity itself is quite questionable with the police trying to make a quick-rupee through display of their uniform and ‘danda’). Some are charged with murder. In Sikar Jail, for example, there were cases where as many as nine under-trials were charged with one murder. Some of them were not even in the area of the crime. The records also show that children of eight years are charged with murder. For instance, in Rajasthan, for which I have detailed figures, for the four years 1975.79, of the total convicted prisoners every year, over 65 per cent of the convicts had been sentenced to less than a year. Less than 10 per cent of the convicts were sentenced to over ten years impri-sonment. And as K.F. Rustomji, former Inspector General of Police and former member of the Police Commission, writes : “The number of criminal repeaters in India is rather small. The number of dangerous criminals-psychopathic killers, murderers, professional robbers, burglars and compulsive rapists-would be very few.”
A further point that hardly needs any statistical corroboration-most of those who are nabbed by the police and are unable to have themselves bailed out are the poor. Those with resources, the big criminals, the smugglers, corrupt politicians, tax evaders are people who are rarely caught. Thus our institutions penalise not the violators of law but the poor-crimes or no crimes.
Life Behind Bars
What are the conditions in jails? What is the effect of confinement on the human psyche, away from friends and relatives, persistently nagged by fears? Caught in his own complexes, with no one to console him, how does a prisoner live through his years in jail?
Food, Accommodation and Medical Treatment
Most of the jails were built in the nineteenth century or at the turn of this century. They are in a state of disrepair and are overcrowded. The Shah Comini-ssion reports that on the eve of the Emergency, in as many as 15 of the 27 States and Union Territories, the actual population of the prisoners far exceeded the authorised accommodation. In Assam there were 7909 prisoners in accommodation meant for 4,930; Bihar- 38,407 as against 21,140; Madhyn Pradesh-16,66 as against 12,388; Orissa-l0,222 as against 6,668; Maha-rashtra-19,786 as against 14,801; West Bengal-25,999 as against 20,237; Delhi 2,699 as against 1,273. And with the imposition of Emergency thousands more were added.
The food served to the prisoners is unfit for consu-mption. According to a report of Seraikela Jail in Bihar in Economic and Political Weekly, July 1978, “Due to overcrowding, a number of prisoners have to spend the nights actually sitting up. The prisoners are invariably very poor people; but the food is so rotten that they find it revolting…..Quite often the prisoners are ordered to lap up the dal which overflows on to the floor. For vegetable the prisoners are fed with wild grass and roots…. A glass of water was found to have no less than one inch of mud at the bottom… . For 400 to 800 prisoners, there are just eight latrines. The prisoners therefore defecate at the drains. In winter, six of them have to huddle under one blanket. Tuber-cular prisoners sleep with the as yet un-diseased ones.”
Within a state, the situation may be different in different jails. For instance, in Rajasthan, satisfactory conditions prevail in Sikar Jail. The Jailor, a cons-cientious young man, has allowed the prisoners to form a panchayat which supervises the purchase and preparation of food. Not only are the prisoners satis-fied about the arrangement, they decided to donate one meal each to the flood affected victims in Rajasthan in July, 1981.
However, the situation was quite bad in Jaipur jail and worse still in Central Jail, Ajmer and sub-jail, Jhunjhunu. In Jhunjhunu, where there was incidentally no shortage of water, the jailor sanctioned half a bucket of water per week per person for washing and bathing. There was overcrowding, food was bad and inmates suffered from all sorts of skin diseases. If any one complained, he was beaten up. (Police firing in Samastipur Jail in January 1981, on prisoners protesting against bad food is just one example. In Ajmer Jail, Rajasthan, on the basis of a secret letter from prisoners, the ADM, Ajmer, conducted a surprise raid in the jail in December, 1980, and found 83 quintals of wheat buried in the jail compound. He also sealed the sand over which in des-peration, the jail authorities had dumped edible oil. The prisoners went on hunger strike. The DIG, Prisons. Rajasthan assured prisoners of an inquiry. The result? The prisoners who had pointed out the misdeeds have been transferred to different jails in Rajasthan. One of them was beaten so much that his arm has been fractured.)
Medical facilities-however meager-are available only in some central jails in each state. In district and sub-jails, (asterisk) a compounder or some registered medical practitioner is supposed to visit at regular intervals; the visits never materialize.
No wonder then that many prisoners die a “natural death” due to diseases which are otherwise minor and curable. In Seraikela Jail which has a capa-city of 82 and which was being used to keep 400 to 800 prisoners, “143 prisoners, mostly adivasi under-trials died between 1973 and 1975”. Bhabani Shanker Hoota, a political activist, who spend some time in Rourkela Special Jail, Orissa, during Emergency, tells us of two doaths in judicial custody “due to the combined negli-gence of hospital and jail staff.” Similar are the comp-laints from Central Jail, Jaipur. Here I came across, among other serious cases, a undertrial, a man of 22, who was sent from Karoli to Central Jail, Jaipur “for treatment”. His right arm was fractured. Not only was the bone exposed, but about an inch of it was jutting out. And what was worse, he had been in that state for over 20 days when I met him. He had been going to the jail doctor everyday and the doctor dutifully applied a yellow medicine and bandaged it. Why was he not sent to the city hospital ? “No police guard to accompany him to the hospital,” was the reply. (However, three days after my visit he was sent to the hospital and was operated upon.) In Karnataka, Snehlata Reddy, a serious chronic asthma patient, was denied proper medical treatment. She was refused parole in spite of the doctor’s recommendation and died with-in a week of her release.
Divide and Rule
Jails, overcrowded with prisoners and commonly understaffed, are run on the policy of ‘divide and rule’. The Jail Manual provides that from amongst the con-victs the authorities shall appoint “convict officers” (COs). They are supposed to be some sort of prefects for the inmates, but actually are the extra-institutional force of the jail authorities. The Convict Officer is a prized position, for it entitles a remission in jail sentence. These prisoners obtain better food from the mess and sometimes the “sick diet” (milk, fruit, eggs).
As a research student, when I said that I wanted to meet the prisoners in Central Jail, Jaipur, the authori-ties would call for these C.Os. I realised that they were viewed with hostility by the ordinary prisoners. These C.Os. told me that “there are no problems in the jail.. food is good. . medicines are available to sick.. Monday parades are held regularly”.
Ordinary prisoners had a different story to tell, of course out of hearing of C.O.s who would invariable try to hang on when an outsider interviewed the prisoner.
On the weekly parades, which are held once in a month or two, the C.O.s accompany the Superinten-dent along with the Jailor and Warders. The Superin-tendent always moves into the wards with a massive force. If anyone complains, the C.O.s beat up the prisoners at his behest. The disobedient prisoners, those who ‘instigate’ the others, are handled by C.O.s and the jail staff together. “Those who demand better conditions and are rather persistent, are taken to the drama hall-meant for recreational and cultu-ral activities-tied to the pillar and beaten up by these people”.
The substantial portion of the “income” of the jail authorities is obtained through the C.O.s who are in direct touch with the ordinary prisoners. They charge the prisoners for putting in a word to the authorities for getting them remission in jail sentence or allowing the prisoner to have “illegal” articles in the jail (ghee, charas, or hasheesh). Often the promotion of a prisoner from an ordinary convict to convict night watchman or convict officer is through bribing the jail authorities. Most prisoners live in an atmosphere of fear and suspicion. Though suffering is common to all, one does not see a sense of unity among them.
Loneliness and Frustration
Theirs is a closed existence; visits from friends and relatives are few and far between for most prisoners. Many of them have not had a visit for years together. Poor as their friends and relatives are, they find it difficult to bear the transportation expenses to visit their kith and kin in jail. Further, they are made to wait for hours at the jail gate; in many jails the gate-keeper asks for a bribe.
Then there are sexual perversions of all sorts. Homosexuality is widely prevalent. The jail authori-ties turn a blind eye to this. When a young boy enters, the prisoners have been known to have bid a price for the boy. The price offered is in terms of ‘bidis’, soap or charas. Often prisoners have been divided into camps and the groups have fought each other on the issue of who shall have the new entrant.
The stories of the comforts and favours given to some of the alleged criminals, like Charles Sobhraj are well known. Santosh Rana writes about Presidency Jail, Calcutta, during the Emergency: “Some smugglers were there. They never ate jail food. Food reached them from their houses everyday. Some had the privilege of going out to their houses at night and coming back in the early morning”. And you do not have to be a smuggler or a kingpin to enjoy extra benefits. In Delhi jail, as those who have been there will tell you, you could have whatever food you wanted, only by paying a higher price. In Jaipur Jail, some prisoners from well-to-do families and undergoing life sentence have no problems in going out. On the pretext of going out to the city hospital “for treatment” they go to their homes with or without the police guard, returning to the jail gate by evening.
While these people get police escort “to go to hospital”, those who are genuinely sick and in need of treatment but resource-less are, usually not sent to the hospital. The plea of the jail authorities- “The police does not send us the guards”.
What is worse is that even the law of the land allows for discriminatory treatment. Some states classify prisoners as being in ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ class on the basis of their income or social status. The Shah Commission Report shows that even amongst MISA detenus, there was discriminatory treatment in almost all states.
I shall quote from the Shah Commission Report the part which deals with MISA detainees in Gujarat which holds for other states too with some variations. “The detaining authorities were autho-rised to classify the prisoners according to their discretion. However in April 1976, the Government issued certain guidelines treating Members of Parlia-ment, Members of Legislative Assembly, Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Chairman of Committees or Corpo-ration/President and Vice-President/Chairman of Committee of District and Taluka Panchayat as Class I prisoners. As a result of the petition filed by some of the detainees, the Government gave an assurance to the- High Court to examine the case of each detainee separately and further clarified on October 26, 1976 that engineers, doctors, lawyers and persons paying income tax over a period of 10 years of not less than Rs. 5000 a year, who had been detained for political activities and Presidents of Municipalities, would be given Class I status. Businessmen paying income tax of not less than Rs. 5000 a year were also given Class I status..
The treatment meted out to those arrested in the late 1960s and early 1970’s under the pretext of their being “Naxalites” breaks even those standards set by jail authorities themselves. Thousands still lang-uish in prisons without trial. After intensive efforts by civil liberties groups and many petitions to the Supreme Court some have been released in Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. We just need to mention one ex-ample, that of Nagbhushan Patnaik, to exemplify the physical and mental deterioration that is the result of the brutal administration treatment in our jails.
Our judicial and penal system in its actual working obviously discriminates between the rich and the poor. In this scheme of thing what can be the case for prison reform?
Reforming the Reformatories
Let us outline some of the contours of the problem:
- Imprisonment of an overwhelming number of under-trials-many of them being held in custody for long periods.
- Lack of accommodation-overcrowding, bad food and an almost complete absence of medical faci-lities.
- While hardened criminals are very few, severe restrictions are placed on almost all prisoners. The whole approach is retributive rather than reformative.
- Prisoners demanding better treatment for them-selves have received lathis and bullets.
- Rampant corruption in jail administration. One must note that the wage scale of the jail staff is also very low.
- Lack of resources for jail administration, as one can infer from the low allocation for jails in the state and Central budgets.
- Not all violators of law are penalised: it is the poor and quite often the innocent who are victi-mised.
- The prisoners are denied “natural habitat” which we try to provide even to the animals we cage in our zoos. This coupled with the hopeless condi-tions in jails affects them irreversibly.
First, since on the one hand, we are confronted with imprisoning large numbers of under-trials, and on the other there is serious overcrowding, why not release the under-trials who have been in jail for long periods?
Many would ask: “Courts take a long time to decide and we cannot afford to release the murderers and potential criminals”. As already mentioned many of them are not criminals. We need only to recall that following Supreme Court orders, the Bihar Government in 1979 released about 27,000 under-trials and there was no noticeable increase in crime.
Secondly, our prison environments are unnatural and inhuman. Along with other aspects of prison life, this leads to serious psychological disorders and even insanity. The conditions, in fact, “mature” petty thieves into hardened criminals. The “habitat” the prison must be changed. One possibility is the open camp system.
The open camp experiment is. being successfully carried out in Rajasthan. In Sampurnanand Open Camp, Sanganer, 50 to 60 convicts -all murderers- live with their families. There are no boundary walls, no fences with only four policemen as guards. The convicts are free to pursue any vocation they choose. I met one ‘prisoner” at a tea stall-which is run by him; another one was working on a government farm and also doing his own farming on one acre piece of land from the government; yet another, a registered medical practitioner had set up a clinic in the town. The prisoners who are eligible for the open camp must have completed 1/3 of their sentence in what can be described as the closed jail.
“The open camp”, says the Inspector General of Police, Rajasthan, “does not cost us much. We have constructed the houses. We have given them some land. They earn their own living. And what is the best thing about the camp is that there has hardly been any instance of escape in the past five years. I may add that to be chosen for open camp, prisoners have to sometimes bribe their way through. The idea in itself is very good, is workable and should be extended all over.”
Thirdly, there is no internal mechanism to check the functioning of the jails today, which remain oppressive and cruel. Suggestions like employing jail staff of high character, or the strict implementation of the jail manual do not work. One section that can doggedly keep a close watch on the prisoners’ plight and make efforts to right the wrongs is the prisoners themselves. They must have the right to assemble and organise into panchayats. Their representatives must be involved in decisions regarding food and maintenance.
Fourthly, the supervision of the administration by the prisoners can be effective only when the rights of prisoners are spelt out. The eight jail manuals that I could collect-all of them, based on the Prisons’ Act, 1894-contained detailed instructions on petty things like the width of the belt to be worn by the staff, the number of holes per square inch on the gauge to seive flour but there was not a single chapter on the rights of the prisoners. While there is a need for a jail manual incorporating reformative approach as against the old manual drafted by colonial rulers primarily with a view to punish and suppress political activities, particular attention should be given to clearly defining the rights of prisoners. These rights must be enforceable in courts.
Fifthly, if the rights of prisoners, as proposed, are to be implemented, provisions must be made so that the jail staff do not violate them. These can be checked by the prisoners only if they have the right to communicate such instances to the judiciary and civil liberties groups freely and fearlessly. The prisoners must, therefore, have the right to mail out letters without any censorship by the jail authorities. Systematic efforts to involve the public and raise their awareness on these issues mtist be made simultaneously.
And lastly, what needs urgent attention and action is the question of bias in the operation of our police, judiciary and judicial custody against the underprivileged and poor. Notwithstanding any amount of prison reform, this bias will continue as long as there is gross inequality and discrimination.
JUDGEs or Brokers of Justice ?
SUPREME COURT Judges Hiding Crime Information
APPLICATION FOR INFORMATION AS PER RTI ACT 2005
( SEE RULE 22 OF RTI ACT 2005 )
FULL NAME OF THE APPLICANT : NAGARAJA.M.R.
ADDRESS OF THE APPLICANT : NAGARAJA.M.R.,
EDITOR , SOS E-VOICE JUSTICE & SOS E-CLARION OF DALIT ,
# LIG-2 / 761, OPP WATER WORKS OFFICE,
HUDCO FIRST STAGE, LAXMIKANTANAGAR,
HEBBAL, MYSORE , KARNATAKA PIN – 570017.
“Power will go to the hands of rascals, , rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight among themselves for power and will be lost in political squabbles . A day would come when even air & water will be taxed.” Sir Winston made this statement in the House of Commons just before the independence of India & Pakistan. Sadly , the forewarning of Late Winston Churchill has been proved right by some of our criminal , corrupt people’s representatives , police , public servants & Judges. Some of the below mentioned judges , police & public servants fall among the category of churchill’s men – Rogues , Rascals & Freebooters.
Eventhough the information is readily available with SCI , information was denied citing unavailability. If at all information is not truly available , why didn’t the CPIO TRANSFER rti application to concerned departments of SCI , Ministry of Law , Justice , Respective High Courts , etc.
The action of CPIO SCI amounts to cover up of judges & their crimes. Thereby , CPIO is also committing a crime. With respect to previous RTI Appeals also CPIO & RTI First Appellate Authority SCI have repeatedly committed crimes by covering up judges & their crimes. Billions of indians are barely sustaining on a single piece meal a day , we lower middle class people toiling hard to earn a few hundreds of rupees but still paying tax. Is it not shame to them / shame to JUDGEs that they draw pay & perks amounting to lakhs of rupees from our money , from taxes paid by us still not do their constitutional duties properly.
GIVE WHAT ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN AGAINST THE GUILTY JUDGES , POLICE & PUBLIC SERVANTS MENTIONED IN THE BELOW MENTIONED WEB SITES & FOLLOWING ARTICLES.
We salute honest few in public service , Judiciary , police , parliament & state legislative assemblies. our whole hearted respects to them. HEREBY , I DO HUMBLY REQUEST YOU TO GIVE ME WRITTEN STATEMENTS / ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS – WHICH IN ITSELF ( ie answers ) ARE THE INFORMATION SOUGHT BY ME. HERE WITH I AM SEEKING NOT THE OPINIONS ABOUT SOME HYPOTHETICAL ISSUES , BUT YOUR OFFICIAL STAND , LEGAL STAND ON ISSUES WHICH ARE OF FREQUENT OCCURRENCE WHICH ARE VIOLATING PEOPLE’S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS & HUMAN RIGHTS. WE DO HAVE HIGHEST RESPECTS FOR JUDICIARY & ALL PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS , THIS IS AN APPEAL FOR TRUTH , INFORMATION SO THAT TO APPREHEND CORRUPT FEW IN PUBLIC SERVICE, WHO ARE AIDING & ABETTING TERRORISM , UNDERWORLD & CRIMINALS. I HAVE SHOWN IN DETAIL WITH LIVE , ACTUAL CASES , EXAMPLES , HOW INDIAN LEGAL SYSTEM IS MANIPULATED BY CRIMINALS WITHIN JUDICIARY , POLICE , PROSECUTION , ETC. READ DETAILS AT :
Atrocities on Women by JUDGES
A – Z of Manipulation of Indian Legal System
Justice Sathasivam – Are you DEAF DUMB & BLIND
Rajiv Gandhi Assassination Cover-up
SHAME SHAME MPs & MLAs
JUDGEs or Brokers of Justice
RTI & Land Golmaal
Hereby , we do request CPIO , Central Vigilance Commission , Satarkata Bhawan , A – Block , GPO complex , INA , New Delhi – 110023.
to answer the following questions in public interest , for safeguarding national security , National unity & integrity & to legally apprehend anti-nationals , criminals within the judiciary & police. If requested information is not available in your office please transfer the application to the respective department / office where information is readily available. At the end , I want information regarding criminals in the garb of police & judges.
1 . How many judges are booked for graft , sexual crimes , crimes against women , irregularities , amassing disproportionate wealth , failure of duty , getting illegal allotment of sites & other crimes since independence till date , yearwise ?
- what action taken casewise ?
- are the action taken similar to commoners , common people committing same type of crimes ?
- did all the cases handled by tainted judges subjected to review , retrial by other honest judges ?
- how many advocates were prosecuted by court for influencing witnesses / evidences , for tutored / concocted evidences , etc since independence till date , yearwise ? what action ? if not why ?
- how many police officials / law enforcing officials were prosecuted by court for influencing , intimidating witnesses through threats , 3rddegree torture , for concocted evidences , etc since independence till date , yearwise ? what action ? if not why ?
- how many police / law enforcement officials were prosecuted for lock-up deaths , fake encounters , illegal detention , 3rd degree torture , etc since independence till date , yearwise ? what action ? if not why ?
- in how many cases police / law enforcement officials were made to pay compensation to innocent victims who were wrongly charged , detained & tortured , murdered by police , since independence till date , yearwise ? what action ? if not why ?
- in some cases , on appeal judgements of higher court turns down the judgement of lower court. In how many such cases , lower court judge is made to pay compensation to victims of their wrong judgement , since independence till date yearwise ? what action ? if not why ?
- how many judges have defaulted in filing their annual financial returns giving out their wealth , income details , yearwise since independence till date ? what action ? if not why ?
- how you are verifying the annual financial returns of judges ?
- since independence , how many convicts have been sentenced to “death by hanging” , yearwise ?
- how many death sentances were carried out & how many are pending ?
- how many police officials were made to pay compensation & prosecuted for defamation , when innocents falsely charged by police were acquitted , dropped from charges by courts ? if not why ?
- how many lower court judges were made to pay compensation & prosecuted for defamation , when innocents wrongly convicted by lower court , but on appeal higher courts acquitting , dropping them of charges ? if not why ?
- are judges getting paid from public exchequer , for their expenses on liquor / alcohol , body massages , etc in their TA DA bill while on tour , official visits , official parties hosted by judges ?
- how many appeals for justice concerning public welfare , violation of human & fundamental rights , threat to lives / livelihood , etc were made to supreme court of india , by nagaraja mysore raghupathi alias nagaraja M R alias myself since 1990 till date ? appeals were made through ordinary post , registered post , e-mail & by web through DARPG , DPG. What ACTION taken by supreme court of india with respect to each appeal ?
- due to negligence / connivance of supreme court judges injustices were meted out to public & public are still suffering injustices. Crimes which could have been prevented by SC happened eventhough brought to early notice of supreme court. What action against erring SC Judges ? if not why ?
- I have repeatedly offered my services to supreme court of india , to apprehend criminals within judiciary , police & public service. What action taken by supreme court of india ? if not why ?
- in my legal struggle for justice , due to negligence / connivance of SCI judges I have suffered murder attempts on my life , job losses , my newspaper closed , not getting press accreditation to my web news papers , threats by rowdies , police , etc. what action against erring chief justice of india ? if not why ?
- I repeatedly appealed to supreme court of india to permit me to appear as amicus curie before supreme court of india & jain commission of enquiry regarding late PM Rajiv Gandhi assassination case. I was not permitted why ?
- who are the judges covering-up Rajiv Gandhi assassination case ? what action taken ? if not why ?
- Law is one & same for all , but law enforcement & law interpretation is not same for common people , Judges & Police ? why ?
YEAR TO WHICH ABOVE PERTAINS : MAJORITY OF DOCUMENTS PERTAINS TO YEAR 1990-2014 . SOME OF THE DOCUMENTS ARE DATED BACK TO 1947.
- A .PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FROM WHOM INFORMATION IS REQUIRED :
CPIO , Central Vigilance Commission , Satarkata Bhawan , A – Block , GPO complex , INA , New Delhi – 110023.
1.B. FEES PAID : IPO 22F 282811 for rupees ten only
2.A. PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FROM WHOM INFORMATION IS REQUIRED :
CPIO , Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India , North Block, New Delhi – 110001
2.B. FEES PAID : IPO 22F 282807 for rupees ten only
3.A. PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER FROM WHOM INFORMATION IS REQUIRED :
CPIO , Ministry of Law and Justice, GOI , 4th Floor, A-Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi-110 001.
3.B. FEES PAID : IPO 22F 282806 for rupees ten only
DATE : 26.08.2014 ……………..………………………NAGARAJA.M.R.
PLACE : MYSORE , INDIA….. ……………………….( APPLICANT)
Parappana Agrahara Central Jail raided
A surprise raid was conducted inside the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail on Saturday afternoon. A team, headed by a senior police officer, raided the prison canteen and some prisoners’ cells.
According to the jail officials, the raid was conducted at 12.30 pm and the search team found over Rs 2,500 in cash and some things which were prohibited in side the canteen. They also recovered some items such as expensive Basmati rice, sugar, mobile phone sets and several varieties of vegetables. The officials also said that canteen staff were selling cosmetic items like perfumes and luxury soaps to the prisoners.
According to the jail sources, the state government has proposed the installation of 3G jammers in Central jails of Mysore, Bangalore, Belgaum and Bellary some equipment have been already brought to Parappana Agrahara Jail.
Nearly 19 3G jammers will be fixed inside the jail and the installation work is in under progress.
VIPs bribe their way in prison too
VIPS LODGED in Tihar jail have started to feel at home now. Officials said not one of the high-profile inmates in Tihar has complained about the facilities or the food inside the jail. Authorities seem to be taking special care of them. All at a price.
Tihar’s jail number 4, considered by inmates as the ‘jail for the kids’ has never seen a VIP inmate of the stature of Commonwealth Games Organising Committee’s former chairman Suresh Kalmadi. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Kanimozhi, accused in the 2G case, on the other hand, is getting the VIP treatment by default.
“Higher-ups have ordered that she be given special treatment”. Sources in the jail said the VIPs in the various jails, especially Kalmadi, are being provided facilities like no other VIP inmate has ever been provided.
The food prepared in jail number 4 is of a much better quality as compared with other jails.
Two young assistants have been ‘hired’ for Kalmadi from among the inmates. Their job is to keep his 10×12 feet cell spic and span, make sure he gets food and water of good quality on time, and take care of other errands.
“They are paid good money by Kalmadi for the daily work they do. He makes sure (through policemen) that they get jail coupons of a good amount regularly and that their family members who visit them get some money,” a source said.
People who have served terms in Tihar say money can help get anything done inside the jails. “Bribery is the safest bet inside the jail. Money can help you hire domestic helps, get home-cooked food, and make sure you are treated nicely by the authorities. It is a different world inside,” says Iftikhar Gilani, a journalist who works with FW.
Gilani served time in jail after the Special Cell of the Delhi police wrongly arrested him under the Official Secrets Act in 2002.
Kalmadi’s trusted aides Lalit Bhanot and VK Verma are lodged in the jail number 3. They too are getting the special treatment, “but not as much as Kalmadi.”
Jail 3 is considered as a grade-II jail, while jail 4, where most inmates are below 25 and are not hardened criminals, is considered a better one.
It was the lack of enough space that forced authorities to lodge Kalmadi’s aides in the grade-II sections of the jail.
Accused in 2G case — Unitech Wireless Managing Director Sanjay Chandra, DB Realty and Swan Telecom MD Vinod Goenka and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group’s Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair — are all lodged in the ward number 4 of jail 3. Main accused A Raja, Shahid Balwa and Siddharth Behura are in jail number 1 and they are better off.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Kanimozhi is lodged in the jail number 6. Her cell is kept cleaner and she is served special food everyday. She also enjoys all help for free. “Even the food is served to her by inmates who have been ordered to manage her needs,” says a source.
The five corporate bigwigs accused in the 2G scam along with Bhanot and Verma have together formed a group which pays well and gets work done as per their demands. And nobody is complaining since the special ‘support staff’ provided to these bigwigs share the earnings with others.
“It is a simple give and take business inside the jail. People who help rich inmates smuggle cash inside and manage the helpers who do their work get the lion’s share of the payments,” says Gilani.
All the inmates are provided newspapers, magazines, and other journals that they ask for.
The food served inside the jails for most inmates consists of a few dry chapatis, some sabzi, dal and rice. The jail is considered the best place to lose weight since the food served is generally prepared badly, has low nutrition levels and is mostly not even enough for most.
None of the VIPs, however, have lost weight, sources say. Food served to them is prepared separately by a team of inmates working in the kitchens under directions from the support staff.
Little wonder that nobody is complaining.
Sanjay Dutt out of jail 40% of time, Bombay HC asks why he is so special
On March 21, when Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt is due to return to Yerawada Central Jail, he would have spent 118 of his 305 days of imprisonment — almost 40 per cent of the time he is supposed to serve — either on furlough for the treatment of his leg pain, or on parole sought citing his wife Manyata’s illness.
This apparent leniency of the state government came under the scanner of the Bombay High Court Tuesday which told authorities that the general outcry among people is that the diligence shown in granting Dutt’s requests is not seen in cases of other convicts.
To address this, the court said it was high time the rules for such relief were looked into, and that there was a need for making “radical changes” in the Prisons (Bombay Furlough and Parole) Rules, 1959.
The court directed the state government to constitute a committee comprising bureaucrats of the home department, representatives from jail administration, and other competent officials for suggesting amendments in the rules for granting parole and furlough to prisoners.
“The state government has been granted four weeks’ time to carry out the exercise. Considering the large number of absconding prisoners, proper care has to be taken in modifying the rules,” the court said as it heard a PIL on the matter.
Dutt’s conviction for possession of arms in connection with the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case was upheld by the Supreme Court in March last year and he was lodged in Yerawada in May to serve the rest of his five-year sentence as he had spent 18 months in custody earlier.
In the last week of September, he was granted a 14-day furlough which he had sought to treat his leg pain. This was extended for another 14 days.
In December, he was granted parole, which was extended once in January. Dutt again applied to the divisional commissioner asking for another one-month extension and this was granted a week back.
“On March 21, when Dutt comes back, he would have spent 118 days out of jail from the 305 days from May last year. He can again apply for furlough and parole from May this year, which we think he will. Of these 118 days, 14 days of the extended parole will not be counted in his sentence and he will have to serve it later,” said a senior prisons department officer.
“Several other inmates, including those serving for even very serious crimes, are granted paroles and subsequent extensions. It’s just that his case has attracted attention as he is a celebrity,” the officer said.
Rajendra Dhamane, DIG in the prisons department, too defended the decision. “The paroles are granted by the divisional commissioner. All procedures have been followed from our side in granting the furlough,” he said.
But a PIL has questioned the discretion used by authorities
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