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Social Justice

Plight of Foreign National Prisoners

  • 13 Aug 2019
  • 3 min read

Recently, the Delhi High Court has ordered the Central government to have the speediest communication with the embassy of the respective countries of the foreign inmates who are in Indian jails.

  • According to recent data, 75% of foreign national inmates imprisoned in jails of Delhi struggle in accessing their embassy or consulate concerned after their arrest.

Foreign National Prisoners

  • Foreign National Prisoners (FNPs) refer to prisoners who do not carry the passport of the country in which they are imprisoned.
  • As per Prison Statistics of India 2015, there are 6,185 FNPs in India.
  • However, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)'s report titled ‘Strangers to Justice’, held that the number of FNPs across 22 States and 4 Union Territories maybe 4000 approximately.
  • Though FNPs are entitled to the basic minimum guarantees as enshrined in the Constitution of India, but FNPs in India faces several issues:
    • They often face a range of difficulties due to differences in language, culture, customs, religion or because of lack of family ties locally.
    • 90% of FNPs conveyed that they faced difficulty in securing bail merely because of their special status or due to “ever-inherent specific concern” that they may be difficult to locate if they get out on bail.
    • Only 5.7% of FNPs in India (222 out of 3,908), have ever received consular access.
  • The Indian legal system does not create a distinction between Indian nationals and foreign nationals, especially in grants of bail. In this context, the Government must take concrete steps to remove this discrimination.


  • In case FNPs are not granted bail their cases may be expedited.
  • As soon as a foreign national is arrested in a major crime, the offense should be brought to the notice of the MEA through the State government by the DGP/CP concerned.
  • Police and prison authorities must be made aware of the mandatory requirements and the form in which such a process would be required to be carried out.
  • Ministry of External Affairs may request the consulates to visit their nationals to enable them to discharge their duties under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

Source: TH

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