Above: Prisoners being shifted to a newly constructed jail complex. Photo: UNI
The Supreme Court bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta on Wednesday (October 31) provided another four-week window for presenting of facts regarding the crucial case of looking into inhuman conditions in 1382 prisons of the country, especially in juvenile homes.
The PIL asks for the preparation of a manual by the relevant ministry, taking into consideration the living conditions and other issues pertaining to juveniles who are in observation homes or special homes or places of safety in terms of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The bench had said: “The issues raised before us, particularly those relating to unnatural deaths in jails, inadequacy of staff and training of staff will be considered on the next date of hearing.”
Affidavits filed by the states of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh show discrepancies in respect to DLSA recommendations, Unter-Trial Review Committee (UTRC) guidelines and data of actual prisoner-release.
The Amicus, Nalsa and DLSA submitted that due to absence of jail superintendents or their representatives in the UTRCs, the jail authorities find it difficult in releasing prisoners in the absence of court orders and suggested the inclusion of a jail official in the committee so they should be aware about the recommendation of the committee.
The Amicus proposed: “We are in the process of putting standard procedures in place after discussions with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Attorney General of this court and all are in principle in agreement.”
AG K K Venugopal informed the court that in the middle of November the MHA had called a meeting of all the Directors General of Prisons to discuss the questionnaire and put this up on portal of the ministry. The same was to have been filled up by the states “so that we get actual status of all prisoners.”
The next date of hearing is December 12.
—India Legal Bureau