Rights of Prisoners

The preservation and protection of prisoners right to human dignity.

The Supreme Court of India,by interpreting Article 21 of the Constitution,has developed human rights jurisprudence for the preservation and protection of prisoners right to human dignity.Emphasizing the significance of human dignity the Supreme Court in People's Union of Democratic Rights v. Union of India AIR 1982 SC 1473,observed that the right of life guarantee ted under Article 21 is not confined merely to physical existence or to the use of any faculty or limb through which life is enjoyed,it also includes within its scope and ambit the right to live with basic human dignity and the state cannot deprive any one of this precious and invaluable right without just , fair and reasonable procedure established by law. However,convicts by mere reason of their conviction are deprived of some of their fundamental rights such as right to move freely throughout the territory of India or the right to practice a profession.It was observed in Sunil Batra vs.Delhi Administration AIR 1978 SC 1675 that the prisoners are not wholly denuded oh their fundamental rights. They are entitle to all the Constitutional Rights unless their liberty has been Constitutionally curtailed.Though the prisoner's liberty is in the very nature of the thing circumscribed by the very fact of his confinement,his interest in the limited liberty left to him is then all the more important."conviction for a crime does not reduce the person into a non-person whose rights are subject to the whim of the prison administration and,therefore, the imposition of any major punishment within the prison system is condition upon the observance of procedural safeguards."
Justice Krisha Iyar has made certain very important suggestions for safeguarding the rights of the prisoners. These are as follows---
* 1. Prisoners 'under sentence of death' shall not be denied any of the community amenities, including games,newspapers,book,moving around and meeting prisoners and visitors,subject to reasonable regulations of prison management.
* 2. Prisoners 'under sentence of death',If desires loneliness for reflection and remorse,for prayers and making peace with his maker,or opportunities for meeting family or friends such facilities shall be liberty granted.
* 3. Reckless handcuff ling and chaining in public degrades,puts to shame finer sensibilities and is a slur on our culture.
* 4. Bar fetters should be for short spells,light and never applied if sores exist.
* 5. Bar fetters should not continue beyond day time.
* 6. Legal aid should be given to prisoner.
"Freedom behind bar" is of our Constitution tryst and the index of our collective consciousness. That the flower of human dignity never fades,is a part of our cultural heritage.Bonded lab our,cellular solitary confinement, corporal punishments,a status based elitist classification and the like deserve to be sentenced to transportation from prisons and humanizing principles granted visa prison campuses."


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