Constitutional Right to Food in Jail as Fundamental Right: Ravi Drall Advocate criminal lawyer in tis hazari court

Constitutional Right to Food in Tihar Jail as Fundamental Right: Ravi Drall Advocate criminal lawyer in tis hazari court

Criminal Lawyer in Tis Hazari court Ravi Drall Advocate

Undertrial prisoners have right to be treated as a Human being like others, they have all the fundamental rights enshrined under our Constitution. Advocate Ravi Drall moved a application before the Sessions Court Tis Hazari and shown the condition of food being served to the undertrials upon which the Sessions court took suo moto action and visited the Lock up premises made in Tis Hazari court where the situation was found pathetic and the undertrials were not being provided enough water to drink.

The right to food and shelter can thus be enforced under article 32 of the constitution. The Supreme Court, through its various pronouncements, has rightly held these rights as fundamental to survival and has thereby kept it under the ambit of Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

in case, Chameli Singh v. State of UP
The SC held the right to shelter as a fundamental right under Art. 21 of the constitution. The court held that in given civilized societies, human living did not imply a mere animal existence, but included all those facilities that go into making the human life worthful and dignified. The right to live implied the basic human rights of food, shelter, water, medical care, education, clean environment, sanitation, and other amenities. The right to shelter not only includes the mere facility of a roof over one’s head but includes the right to have all those necessary infrastructures that enable one to live off a meaningful life and develop as a human being.

The word prisoner means any person who is kept under custody in jail or prison because he/she committed an act prohibited by law of the land. A prisoner also known as an inmate is anyone who against their will is deprived of liberty. This liberty can be deprived by forceful restrain or confinement. Prisoners rights deal with the rights of the inmates while behind bars. Prisoners have basic legal rights that can’t be taken away from them.[1]The basic rights include right to food and water, right to have an attorney to defend himself, protection from torture, violence and racial harassment. Section 1 of the Prison Security Act1992, defines the term prisoner. The word prisoner means any person for the time being in a prison as a result of any requirement imposed by a court or otherwise that he be detained in legal custody. This paper presents the rights of the prisoners in detail with related case laws.

Indian Law:
A. Constitution:

The rights guaranteed in the part III of Indian Constitution are available to prisoners; because a prisoner is treated as a person in prison.[6]
Article 14 contemplated that like should be treated alike, and also provided the concept of reasonable classification. This article provides the basis for prison authorities to determine various categories of prisoners and their classification with the object of reformation. Indian constitution guarantees six freedoms to citizens of India, among which certain freedom can#t be enjoyed by the prisoners. They are #freedom of movement#, #freedom to residence and to settle# and #freedom of profession#. But other freedoms conferred in this article are enjoyed by the prisoners. Moreover, constitution provides various other provisions though cannot directly be called as prisoner#s rights but may be relevant. Among them are Article 20(1), (2), and Article 21 and Article 22(4-7).

B. Enactments And Rules:
1. The Prisons Act, 1894:

This act is the first legislation regarding prison regulation in India. The following are some of the important provisions regarding prisoner#s rights:
#Accommodation and sanitary conditions for prisoners.
#Provisions relating to mental and physical state of prisoners.
#Examination of prisoners by qualified medical officer.
#Separation of prisoners for male, female, criminal, civil, convicted and under trial prisoners.
#Provisions for treatment of under trials, civil prisoners, parole and temporary release of prisoners.

2. The Prisoners Act, 1990:
#It is the duty of the government for the removal of any prisoner detained under any order or sentence of any court, which is of unsound mind to a lunatic asylum and other place where he will be given proper treatment.
#Any court which is a high court may in case in which it has recommended to government the granting of a free pardon to any prisoner, permit him to be at liberty on his own cognizance.

3. The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950:
This act was enacted for the transfer of prisoners from one state to another for rehabilitation or vocational training and from over-populated jails to less congested jails within the state.

4. The Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) ACT, 1955:
This Act contains provisions authorizing the removal of prisoners to a civil or criminal court for giving evidence or for answering to the charge of an offence.

C. Cases Decided By Supreme Court And High Court:
1.D.B.M.Patnaik v. State of Andhra Pradesh
The SC asserted that the mere detention does not deprive the convicts of all the fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution.

2. Hiralal Mallick v. State of Bihar
In 1977 the SC stressed for the rehabilitation of prisoners and reformation of prisons.

3. Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration
The court held that #the fact that a person is legally in prison does not prevent the use of Habeas Corpus to protect his other inherent rights#.

4. Prem Shankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration
The court held that no person shall be hand-cuffed, fettered routinely for convince of the custodian#s escort.

5. R.D. Upadhyay v. State of A.P and Ors.
The right to fair treatment and right of judicial remedy are pre-requisites of administration of prison justice.

6. Hussain Ara Khatun v. State of Bihar
Court adopted a dynamic and constructive role with regard prison reforms. Court apart from other things stressed on the improvements of the conditions of the prisons in India.

D. Policy Documents, Government Schemes
# Government of India appointed a National Expert Committee on women prisoners (1968-87) under chairmanship of Justice Krishna Iyer to examine the conditions of women prisoners.
# National Conference on Human Rights of Prisoners on 14thNov. 1995, consensus was emerged to work out the draft law on prisons. A Core Group has prepared a Draft Bill namely, the Indian Prisons Act, 1995 which was circulated to State Governments for their consideration and also to the Ministry of law. But the bill is still pending under consideration of the Government of India.

The Supreme Court in US in Manna v. people of Illinois[13]said that life is not merely animal existence. The souls behind the bar can#t be denied the same. The rights guaranteed by Art.21 are for every person and not even the state could deny it. Prisoners also have all the rights which a free man has under some restrictions. Just being in prison doesn#t deprive them from their fundamental rights.

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