We all know that whether it is India or any other state the rights of the prisoner is nowadays a major concern because a lot of inmates have to suffer various assaults and brutality while they are punished for the crime committed. The inmates go through alot of mental and physical trauma inside jails which is a major concern as it leads to their human rights violation.
Now before discussing it further we have to know who is a prisoner and why they are supposed to get protection from any type of assault or brutality in the cell?
Prisoner in simple term means a person who is in custody without his or her free will or we can say that the person whose liberty was taken away without his or her free will.
Prisoner according to the Prison Act, 1894 is defined as-
According to Prison Act, 1894 there are two types of prisoners –
To grant prisoners rights is always a matter of debate when some of the people argue that the rights of prisoners are important and they have to be treated equally while on the other hand some of the people are against prisoner’s rights because they have a thinking that if someone has committed a crime they deserve to be punished and be sentenced to a viable punishment and their rights should hence be taken away.
But according to courts everyone should be vested with basic rights. Not only courts, but also ancient shastras supported this thought. In our ancient shastras there is a reference to kill the sin not the sinner. Hence, the perpetrator should be sentenced with punishment for the reason so that he can repent his sin .
The development of the prisoners’ rights started taking place from the time of Britisher’s rule. Hence, the barbaric punishments given by the kings have now reformed into correctional methods. Similarly, the custody is now turned into the care and correctional cells. Since the Indian democratic government came into force they started forming committees for the same.
let us discuss about some of the previous and recent committees which were formed for the development of prisons and to bring a reform in the rights of prisoners.
The main problems involved with the infringement of rights are :-
When we are talking about the rights of the person than we should also be aware of the problems faced by the Indian jail inmates and at last we will talk about that how can we tackle these problems:
Now we will discussed about what type of rights are related with the prisoners.
Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration on 20 December, 1979 1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557
District magistrate or the court have to nominate lawyers so that prisoners can file their grievances and complaints to them also district magistrate and sessions judge have to visit the jail complex on periodical basis and also file a report for the same in the high court.
Hussainara Khatoon and Others
In this case the issue raised was that the condition of undertrial prisoners is not so good in the jail. They have to undergo jail term for a period more than there original term therefore, the writ petition was filed for the same and the court took cognizance of offence and also mentioned 6 months of investigation of the prisoners and if they fail they have to file the reason for the same .
Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration 1980 AIR 1535, 1980 SCR (3) 855
Various regulation regarding handcuffing: No accussed should be handcuffed as everyone has a right to live a life with dignity whether he is poor or rich they have to be handcuffed only when the accused is likely to escape or to spread violence
The condition of prisoners in India is not so good there are various reasons behind it, the main reasons are that the conditions of cells are not so good and also at some districts there is no proper courts to deal with the matter therefore in my opinion there is a need for strict guidelines to maintain the condition inside the jail it is not only in India it is in every state that the prisoners have to face assaults. A popular Political Activist Mumia Abu Jammal quoted that, “Prison is a second by second assault on the soul a day to day degredation of the self, an oppressive steel and brick umbrella that transfers seconds into the hours and hours into the days”.
Everyone who is inside the jail is a criminal and his punishment is sentenced by the court now no one have a right to mistreat the prisoners only because he did something wrong you cannot assault the prisoner or any person only because he did something which is wrong or we can say against the law. Most of the people are of the opinion that prisoners don’t deserve to be treated equally but just for a minute think about the person who becomes the target of some conspiracy or is wrongfully accused. Prison should be a place to let the accused reform in a positive way and not become a hardened criminal once out of the jail.