NHRC holds discussions on "The Prison Reforms and Prisoner's Welfare in India" in its second 'Open Forum' (29.06.2018)


New Delhi, 29th June, 2018

The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC in its second 'Open Forum' held a discussion on "The Prison Reforms and Prisoner's Welfare in India" at Manav Adhikar Bhawan in New Delhi today. Opening it, Mr. Justice H.L. Dattu, Chairperson NHRC said that sustained efforts are needed from all the stakeholders to improve the conditions in prisons in the country by putting in place the process of reforms.

With reference to the overcrowding of jails resulting in denial of basic amenities to prisoners, he said that one way of reducing burden on the prison resources and other facilities is that judges must be liberal in granting bail to the undertrial prisoners as per the provisions of Section 436A of Code of Criminal Procedure and it should be a matter of right and not a charity towards them. He also favored provision of open prison for the undertrial prisoners. He said that many jails were old and in dilapidated conditions lacking basic infrastructure and facilities including for recreation of prisoners which needed to be looked into.

The objective of this 'Open Forum' discussion was to raise awareness about the various issues related to Prisoners i.e, Undertrial Prisoners and their inability to furnish Bail and Bonds, Long Term Prisoners, Foreign Prisoners, Women Prisoners and their children, Crime in prison by Prison Staff against prisoners and Rehabilitation and re-integration of Released Prisoners.

Several suggestions emerged during the discussions, which will be further deliberated upon by the Commission before finalizing the recommendations suggesting reforms needed for prisons and criminal justice system.

Besides the NHRC Members, Mr. Justice P.C Ghose, Mr. Justice D. Murugesan, Secretary-General, Mr. Ambuj Sharma and other senior officers, the participants included, among others, DG (Prison), Tihar Central Jail, Mr. Ajay Kashyap, Director NALSA, Mr. Surendra Rathi, Director Commonwealth Citizens' Forum, Mr. Sanjoy Hazarika, Senior advocate, Ms. Vrinda Grover, Secretary, New Delhi, DLSA, Mr. Chander Jit Singh.