SC Asks States, UTs To Seriously Consider Feasibility Of Establishing Open Prisons In As Many Locations As Possible [Read Order]
We expect the state governments concerned to not only try and utilize the existing capacity of these open prisons and if necessary increase the existing capacity of these open prisons in due course of time, the Bench said.
During the hearing in Re-Inhuman Conditions In 1382 Prisons, the Supreme Court has said state governments and union territories should consider the feasibility of establishing open prisons in as many locations as possible.
We expect the State Governments concerned to not only try and utilize the existing capacity of these open prisons and if necessary increase the existing capacity of these open prisons in due course of time, a bench of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta said while recording amicus curiae submission that there were already 63 open prisons in different parts of the country, but the existing capacity is not being fully utilized.
The Additional Solicitor General also told the court that steps are being taken to encourage setting up of open prisons and that Rules called the Model Uniform Rules for the Administration of Open Correctional Institutions have been framed. The ASG told the court that these model rules will be circulated to all the state governments for notification and implementation.
“We expect that on receipt of these Model Rules, necessary steps will be taken by the State Governments to notify and implement these Rules faithfully and sincerely,” the bench said.
Overcrowding in prisons and vacancies of prison staffs
The court perusing the note submitted by amicus, observed that issue of overcrowding in prisons is not being taken seriously by the prison authorities and there are several prisons where the overcrowding is well beyond 100 percent and in some cases it exceeds 150 percent. The court also noted that little interest is being shown to recruit staff in prisons that impacts prison administration.
On these issues, the court said: “In our opinion, this matter should be considered by each High Court independently with the assistance of the State Legal Services Authority/ High Court Legal Services Committee so that there is some sanity in the overcrowding in prisons since it involves violation of human rights. Under the circumstances, we request the Chief Justice of every High Court to take up the issue of overcrowding in prisons as a suo moto writ petition.”
Under Trial Review Committee
The NALSA told the court that the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Under Trial Review Committee is ready. The court asked the SOP to be finalized on or before 30th June, 2018. As soon as the SOP is finalized, it should be circulated to all the District Judges and Under Trial Review Committees for implementation, the bench said.
Women prisoners and their children
On this issue, the Additional Solicitor General submitted before the court that the Ministry of Women and Child Development is conducting a study through the National Commission for Women and the National Law University, Delhi, on women prisoners and their children and it will be completed by 30th June, 2018 and the Ministry would thereafter like to look into the Study and take necessary steps. The court posted the matter on 2nd August.
The court was told that the Bureau of Police Research and Development has prepared some training manuals for the prison officers and prison warders. We expect the National Police Academy and the State Police Academies to take advantage of the excellent effort put in by the Bureau of Police Research and Development and conduct training courses appropriately, the court said.Read the Order Here