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Rights of Prisoners

Rights of Prisoners - History of Prisoners rights - Problems Faced by Prisoners - Prison Act, 1894 - Right to Legal Aid - Right to the speedy trial - Right against solitary confinements - consult their lawyer

Introduction

Indian constitution is the longest written constitution in the whole world but there are a lot of laws that are not considered or written in our constitution. One such law that is not being taken into consideration is the law regarding the rights of the prisoners.

A country with the largest democracy and constitution in the world does not have specific legislation for the rights of the prisoners. The prisoners may have done heinous crimes but that doesn’t mean that they should be deprived of basic human rights. It is a basic right of every Indian citizen including the prisoners to have at least some of their fundamental rights.

History of Prisoners rights 

There is still no exact law on the rights of prisoners but there are certain landmark judgments that defined the prisoner’s rights. The first case was the state of Andhra Pradesh v. Challa Ramakrishnan Reddy, in this case, the court stated that a prisoner is also a person and will not lose their basic fundamental rights.

In the famous case of Marie Andre’s v. The Superintendent, Tihar Jail the Supreme Court Judge Justice Krishna Aiyer stated that:

“…imprisonment does not spell farewell to fundamental rights although, by a realistic re-appraisal, Courts will refuse to recognize the full panoply of Part III enjoyed by a free citizen”. 

He further stated that the imprisonment of a prisoner is not merely retribution or deterrence but also rehabilitation.

Problems Faced by Prisoners 

  • The Prisons are overcrowded and the prisoners have to live in a very small space.
  • Most of the prisoners suffer from mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, addiction, disorders, etc.
  • Delay in trails for years prisoners who are under trial is a huge problem.
  • The inmates are often tortured mentally and physically by the prison guards. 
  • The prisoner’s health issues are usually neglected by the prison guards
  • Poor ventilation and poor quality of food.
  • No facility for disabling prisoners

Fundamental Rights Applicable to the Prisoners

Right to Legal Aid: 

The right to legal aid provides a legal remedy to the prisoner to protect their human rights during a trial or a conviction. This right assures the prisoner that the prisoner will receive a fair trial, the right to have a council, and equality before the law. 

This Act was first applied in the case of M.H. Wadanrao Hoskot v. the State of Maharashtra, in this case, the court stated that government should provide a considerable type of assistance to the people who are convicted.

Right to the speedy trial: 

The right to a speedy trial is considered a constitutional right it comes under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. It ensures that the prisoner gets fair, reasonable, and just procedure. The law states that the prosecutor should not delay the trial of the prisoner to improve the social welfare and to bring justice to the victim. If the trial is not going speedily the prisoner can go to the Supreme court with Article 32 to enforce such right.

This Act was first applied in the case of Hussainara Khatoon v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar.

Right against solitary confinements and bar fetters:

The court has reconsidered their views on solitary Confinement and has stated that it is inconvenient and causes a dehumanizing and corrupt impact on the prisoner. However, for rare cases when the inmate was a clear threat to other inmates, he/she should then be disengaged from the excess detainees. The Supreme Court reflected upon the authenticity of such restriction in the Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration

The Supreme Court has likewise solidly protested against applying bar shackles to the prisoners. The Court saw that continuously keeping a prisoner in shackles day and night lessened the prisoner from individual to animal, and such treatment was cruel and strange that the usage of bar chains was against the soul of the Constitution of India.

Right to meet relatives or friends and consult their lawyer:

The court has stated that it is vital for the prisoners to meet their relatives and friends so that they can share the details of what is going on in prison and get some mental stability. They can also consult their lawyer to file a case in court if the conditions of the prison are noticeably awful.

Prison Act, 1894:

Prison Act 1894 is the first law regarding the regulation of prisons in India. The act focuses on the improvement of the prisoner’s environment about the rights of the prisoners. The main features of the act are:

  • The prisoner must have proper accommodation and the surroundings must be sanitary.
  • The arrangement should be made as such that the person in custody must be safe and if the prisons are overcrowded an arrangement must be made to transfer them.
  • Provisions to provide a medical facility for the prisoners and a check-up by a qualified medical officer
  • Provisions for separating prisoners based on their gender, if they have committed a crime under criminal or civil law, are they convicted or under-trial.
  • Provision for providing nutritious food and proper clothes to the prisoners.

Conclusion

Even though there are various laws and the prisoners are qualified to apply all the essential laws available in the constitution the prisoners are not treated as human beings once they are put behind the bar. It’s high time that the laws should be changed and it should be seen that the prisoners are victims inside the prisons.

The government both state and central should look that the prisoner’s human rights are not being violated and they should not be deprived of their rights. There should be a definite law so at the end of the day even the official authorities and prison authorities take the prisoner’s rights seriously.

Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer Rights of Prisoners – History of Prisoners rights Problems Faced by PrisonersPrison Act, 1894Right to Legal AidRight to the speedy trialRight against solitary confinementsconsult their lawyer

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