SC Panel Report on Prison Reforms: Centre, States to Help in Implementation

Recently, the Supreme Court took note of the final synopsis of reports dated December 27, 2022, submitted by the Supreme Court committee on prison reforms and sought the assistance of the Centre and States with respect to the implementation of the committee’s recommendations.[1]

In June 2013, a letter addressed to the Chief Justice of India disclosed disturbing and inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons in the country as reported in a newspaper as a graphic story. This letter was registered as a public interest writ petition. Thereafter, a three-member committee, chaired by former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Amitava Roy was constituted as per the Court’s order dated September 25, 2018. The said committee was tasked with preparing a report on the issues pertaining to overcrowding, staff inadequacy, violence, etc. in prisons and correctional homes.

Last week, the Division Bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Rajesh Bindal opined that certain other issues pertaining to medical facilities, vocational training, and Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in jails were not included in the terms of reference in respect of which the committee’s recommendations were sought. Holding that these issues need to be addressed, the Court asked the Centre and the States to share their responses regarding the same.

Additionally, the Court has sought the assistance of parties in implementing the committee’s recommendations pertaining to transgender prisoners, death row convicts and women and children in detention.

The matter will be heard next on September 26, 2023.

[1] Re–Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons v. Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services & Ors. [WP(C) No. 406/2013]