Life convict seeks to remain in a particular prison

The Madras High Court Bench here has reminded prison authorities of the need to adopt a soft approach while dealing with pleas made by prisoners to retain them in a particular prison on sentimental grounds such as easy accessibility for their aged parents or spouses to pay frequent visits.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by C. Sekar, a life convict who claimed that his 71-year-old mother would not be able to visit him if he was shifted from Salem to Tiruchi central prison, Justice K.K. Sasidharan said: “The prison authorities should not adopt an attitude that once a prisoner is always a prisoner.”

The judge directed Additional Director General of Prison to reconsider the convict's plea to retain him in Salem and said that a regular visit by his mother would give a moral support to the convict and help him in integrating with his family after his release as opined by the Supreme Court way back in 1980. “The prison authorities should consider the plight of prisoners with an open mind. The petitioner was not born as a criminal. He was involved in a murder case and ultimately punished. The petitioner is now 38 years of age. The offence was committed when he was 20.

“The merits or otherwise of the charges framed against the petitioner is not the subject matter of this writ petition… The jail authorities have no case that the petitioner was involved in criminal activities inside the prison… The Constitutional courts have got a Constitutional obligation towards prisoners.”

“The prisons should become reform houses… The prisoner in due course would reform himself. He would realise the mistake committed by him. The prison regulations contain provisions regarding premature release of prisoners on good conduct. These provisions are all made with a view to see that the prisoners behave in a peaceful manner during their confinement,” the judge said and cited various Supreme Court decisions on the continuing responsibility of courts to protect the rights of prisoners.