The Supreme Court on Friday said that It is “not only tragic but also pathetic” to find that prisons in the national capital, along with half a dozen States across the country, are overcrowded by over 150 per cent.
The bench led by Justice Madan B.Lokur blamed Delhi for paying “little or no attention” to the fundamental rights of undertrials and convicts. The bench, observed in a judgement on a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL), that prisons are overcrowded with inmates by over one-and-a-half times the permissible limit, as reported by The Hindu.
The judgement further noted, “Fundamental rights and human rights of people, however they may be placed, cannot be ignored only because of their adverse circumstances.”
The judgement has been made specifically referring to the prisons in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
According to the findings of the court, the jail authorities have defied repeated orders of the Supreme Court to draw a “viable”plan of action to decongest jails. Instead, prison authorities have banked on ad hoc proposals like the construction of additional barracks or jails, and these proposals have no time limits for implementation.
Besides, it has also been found that the Ministry of Women and Child Development has not yet framed a Manual for Juveniles in Custody under the recently amended Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
The Supreme Court has asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to receive and collate plans of action for de-congesting jails from the various States and Union Territories in the next six months and has asked the government to prepare a plan that is viable, within next six months and hand it over to apex court by March 31, 2017.