A State is entitled to transfer prisoners to a jail in another State with the consent of the transferee State, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Such power, however, must be exercised in the larger public interest. The case of prisoners should be considered individually and a conscious decision arrived at, taking an overall view of the matter. Transfer should not be as a matter of course and there should not be a general shifting of prisoners. The State should identify the inmates responsible for illegal and violent activities.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan dismissed a writ petition by one Nagammal seeking a direction to the Puducherry government to consider her representation of September 30 this year and not to transfer her son, Shankar, a life convict, from the Special Sub-Jail at Karaikal to any prison outside the Union Territory. She had been informed that there was a move to transfer her son to the Central Prison, Tiruchirappalli or Tihar Jail, New Delhi.

The petitioner said it would amount to violation of human rights as the relatives would not be able to meet him if her son was shifted.

The Government Advocate, Puducherry, said the Transfer of Prisoners Act permitted transfer of prisoners from one State to another. Prisoners had been indulging in violence. There was an attempt to murder certain convicts in jail by the rival group. The government contended that most of the crimes were planned in jails and meticulously executed by the gang members outside.

Mr. Justice Sasidharan said a search by police at the Central Jail, Puducherry, resulted in securing several mobile phones. The local people and businessmen had been complaining that they used to get threat calls from convicts demanding ‘mamool’ to their agents. The Puducherry administration seemed to have taken several measures to put an end to ‘goonda raj’ and ‘katta panchayat’ and collection of mamool in the State.

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