Sridhruti Chitrapu | 20th November 2019
The Public interest litigation has compelled the court to look into the matters relating to violations affecting the society at large and the rights of the citizens either due to failure of the state in implementing the enactments or due to mis-governance by state. In the current day State is choosing to challenge the concept of public interest litigation in the name of judicial activism and separation of powers. It is believed that this stance of the state is only to cover its failure to provide social justice to the people as stated in the preamble. The honourable Supreme Court has clarified that it has not exceeded its jurisdiction and has only interfered suo motto only in the interests of the people in cases where there is administrative mis-governance or absence of the governance altogether.
The present petition regarding the rights of prisoners has been initiated on bases of a letter received by the court from a former Chief Justice of India. The need for introspection and reform has been taken with positive and constructive interest by the Union of India. The issues stated in the petition were overcrowding in prisons, unnatural deaths of prisoners, gross inadequacy of staff and untrained or inadequately trained staff.
Keeping in mind the dire necessity for reforms it was put to the Attorney General to consider the feasibility of appointing a committee to look into all of the issues, not just the ones that are mentioned in the petition but also the ones that have raised during the pendency of the petition and certain directions were issued for forming the committee.
The committee is supposed to consist:
- Hon’ble Mr Justice Amitava Roy, former Judge of the Supreme Court as its chair.
- Inspector General of Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development as its members.
- Director General (Prisons) Tihar Jail, New Delhi as its member.
The chairman of the committee would be entitled to financial benefits as available to a judge of the Hon’ble supreme court. The committee is to give recommendations with regards to all of the issues stated in the petition some of which are stated below:
- Review the implementation of the guidelines contained in the Model Prison Manual 2016.
- Review the implementation by the States and UTs of the recommendations made by the Parliamentary committee on Empowerment of women in its report “Women in Detention and access to Justice”.
- Review the two training manuals for prison personnel prepared by Bureau of Police Research and Development.
- Review the recommendations made in the report of the ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with the National Commission for Women.
- Review the recommendations made in the report of the National Commission for Women on “Inspection of Prisons/Jails/Custodial Homes housing women”.
After the recommendations are made by the committee the court will review them and implement them to enhance the living conditions of the prisoners and bring prisoner reforms.