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Supreme Court constitutes committee to look into jail reforms

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File

A view of the Supreme Court of India in New Delhi. File   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

The bench was hearing a matter relating to inhuman conditions in 1,382 prisons across India.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday formed a Committee on Prison Reforms chaired by former apex court judge, Justice Amitava Roy, to examine the various problems plaguing prisons in the country, from overcrowding to lack of legal advice to convicts to issues of remission and parole.

A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur, S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta appointed the Inspector General of Police, Bureau of Police Research and Development, and the Director General (Prisons) Tihar Jail as the panel’s members.

The judgment came on a letter from former Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti highlighting the overcrowding in prisons, unnatural deaths of prisoners, gross inadequacy of staff and the lack of trained staff.

Justice Lokur, however, said the Amitava Roy Committee need not confine itself to these four issues but can comprehensively examine and respond to the dire necessity of reforms in prisons.

Issuing a slew of directions, the Bench has directed the committee to examine the extent of overcrowding in prisons and correctional homes and recommend remedial measures, including an examination of the functioning of Under Trial Review Committees, availability of legal aid and advice, grant of remission, parole and furlough.

The panel would also probe the reasons for violence in prisons and correctional homes and recommend measures to prevent unnatural deaths and assess the availability of medical facilities in prisons and correctional homes and make recommendations.

It would assess the availability and inadequacy of staff in prisons and correctional homes, suggest training and educational modules for the staff and assess the feasibility of establishing open prisons.

The committee has been asked to recommend steps for the psycho-social well-being of minor children of women prisoners, including their education and health.

Further to examine and recommend measures for the health, education, development of skills, ehabilitation and social reintegration of children in observation homes, places of safety and special homes established under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

The court asked the committee to complete the collection of data and information and make submit it in a year.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 5:43:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-constitutes-committee-to-look-into-jail-reforms/article25035259.ece

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