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Q. Overcrowding Indian prison’s: Discuss the issue of overcrowding Indian prisons.
Oct 15, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-2

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently Supreme Court of India in a judgment on a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL), observed that prisons in India are crammed with inmates by over one and a half times the permissible limit. Apex court has blamed to the governments for paying little or no attention to the fundamental rights of under trials and convicts.

Issues-

  • The overcrowding of prisons in the country is a long-standing problem that is rarely addressed by the incumbent governments.
  • Prisons in Delhi and in other nine States like Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka have an occupancy rate of 150% of their capacity.
  • The fundamental and human rights of under trials and convicts of these prisons are grossly ignored.

Analysis-

  • In December 2014, the average was occupancy in all jails in the country was about 117.4%. Since then apex court has passed various orders for prison reforms in general, and that of overcrowding in particular. But the measures adopted by authorities to decongest jails are sporadic and half-hearted.
  • What makes the picture bleaker is that authorities have defied repeated orders of the Supreme Court on prisons reforms and decongestion measures.
  • Not even one state or UT has bothered to prepare a plan of action, as directed by the apex court some months ago, to reduce crowding and to augment infrastructure so that more space is available to each prisoner.
  • The conditions of inmates in Indian jails particularly of 10 states including Delhi are pathetic. The fundamental and human rights of inmates are out rightly ignored.
  • Excessive prison population has created problems of hygiene, sanitation, management and discipline, which has direct impact on health of inmates and also in their management.
  • The condition in jail reflects how we treat inmates in their adverse circumstances, and it is exactly opposite to the rights granted by our constitution.

Suggestions-

  • The state government needs to undertake prison reforms in general and decongestion of inmates in particular.
  • There is an urgent need to build new prison within specific time period with all required facilities.
  • Also maintenance of jail be upgraded with hygiene and other important facilities.

Conclusion-

India jails have overcrowded with under trials and convicts, and their condition in the jails is pathetic. No state took effort to undertake prison reforms and they have repeatedly defied the apex courts directives. It is gross violation of fundamental and human rights of jail inmates. Hence it is high time to undertake jail reforms.


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