RE-INHUMAN CONDITIONS IN 1382 PRISONS (II) Vs. STATE
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Re-Inhuman Conditions In 1382 Prisons (Ii)
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MADAN B.LOKUR, J. -
(1.) By our order dated 5th February, 2016 [JT 2016 (2) SC 27] we had drawn attention to over-crowding in prisons and had given directions which would assist in reducing the prison population and generally improve the living conditions of prisoners.
(2.) When this petition was listed on 14th March, 2016 we had noted that the Ministry of Women and Child Development of the Government of India had set up a Committee on 24th February, 2016 for drafting a Manual similar to the Prison Manual prepared by the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Government of India concerning issues pertaining to juveniles in custody either in Observation Homes or Special Homes or Places of Safety in terms of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. We were informed that although the Committee was required to submit its report by 31st May, 2016 the time given was rather short. We were in agreement with the Member Secretary of the Committee in this regard and had expressed the view that there was no need to show undue haste in the preparation of the Manual or produce a half baked document. We had also suggested the inclusion of representatives from academia and NGOs in the drafting process.
(3.) The matter was again taken up on 6th May, 2016 when we were informed by learned Amicus that the Manual for juveniles in custody would take about three months for completion. With regard to over-crowding in jails, the learned Amicus submitted that there are several jails where over-crowding is to the extent of more than 150%, meaning thereby that there are more than one and a half times the number of prisoners than the permissible limit. It was submitted that an excessive prison population has its own problems of hygiene, sanitation, management, discipline etc. The problem of over-crowding cannot be looked at in isolation. He submitted that in the first instance the States may be directed to identify jails in which over-crowding is to the extent of 150% or more so that further directions could be given. On the basis of this submission we called for information and now find that the situation continues to be not only tragic but also pathetic. Learned Amicus has drawn our attention vide his Note dated 20.9.2016 to over-crowding to the extent of 150% or more in jails in Assam (8), Chhattisgarh (17), Jharkhand (3), Karnataka (7), Kerala (21), Madhya Pradesh (5), Maharashtra (16), Rajasthan (21), Uttar Pradesh (47) and Delhi (12). It is unfortunate that in spite of our directions the prison authorities have not been able to take any effective steps for reducing over-crowding in jails.;
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