Unacceptable behavior is deviance. Deviance is the violation of cultural
norms which are set by a certain society. These norms are guidelines that guide
basically all human activities, so the concept of deviance is quite broad.
Deviance is an absence of conformity to these norms. "The fact or state of
diverging from usual or accepted standards, especially in social behavior" is
called Deviance. When such behaviors are done by the privileged class of the
society, then this is called Privileged Class Deviance
When a particular class of people such as Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers,
etc., enjoying the special privileges becomes deviant in the society, they
result in Privileged Class Deviance. They usually misuse their power and
position for their own benefit and cause damage and injury to the victim. There
are many types of deviance like Official deviance or Governmental deviance,
Professional deviance, Trade Union deviance, Landlord deviance, Police deviance,
Deviance in Electoral Process, Deviance due to gender-based aggression, etc.,
When a person of respectability and high social status in course of the
occupation, commits an act which is approximately a crime, it is called as White
Collar Crimes. White-collar crimes and White-collar criminals cause great harm
In this article, I would like to discuss the special treatment of Privileged
Class Prisoners in India. Also, I would like to throw light on the rights and
privileges of the prisoners in India. The comparison between the privileged
class prisoners and the other prisoners is also done in this article.
The privileged class prisoners are otherwise called VIP (Very Important Person)
Prisoners. When the rich and the powerful get on the wrong side of the law, it's
the law that suffers the most. VIP offenders and convicts are often treated by
law enforcers as VIPs and not as offenders or convicts. This study is conducted
to eradicate the differences between the treatment of privileged class prisoners
and the other prisoners in India.
The word "Prisoner
" means any person who is kept under custody in jail or
prison because he/she committed an act prohibited by the law of the land.
Prisons, and their administration, are a state subject covered by item 4 under
the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The
management and administration of prisons fall exclusively in the domain of the
State governments and are governed by the Prisons Act, 1894, and the Prison
manuals of the respective state governments.
Thus, the states have the primary role, responsibility, and authority to change
the current prison laws, rules, and regulations. The Central Government provides
assistance to the states to improve security in prisons, for the repair and
renovation of old prisons, medical facilities, development of borstal schools,
facilities to women offenders, vocational training, modernization of prison
industries, training to prison personnel, and for the creation of high-security
The Supreme Court of India, in its judgments on various aspects of prison
administration, has laid down 3 broad principles regarding imprisonment and
custody. First, a person in prison does not become a non-person. Second, a
person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of
imprisonment. Third, there is no justification for aggravating the suffering
already inherent in the process of incarceration. Prison establishments in India
exist at three levels-the taluka level, district level, and central (sometimes
called zonal/range) level.
The jails in these levels are called Sub Jails, District Jails, and Central
Jails respectively. In general, the infrastructure, security, and prisoner
facilities such as medical, educational, and rehabilitation are progressively
better from Sub jail to Central Jail. The other types of jail establishments are
Women Jails, Borstal schools, Open jails, and Special Jails. Prison conditions
in India are bad and unhealthy as they are "frequently life-threatening" and do
not meet international standards.
The research methodology used in this paper is doctrinal legal research which
involves the prevailing state of legal doctrines, legal rules, and legal
principles. The source of data is from the secondary source of data like
websites, articles, and books related to the rights and privileges of prisoners
and the treatment of privileged class prisoners in India. The theories of legal
interpretation and legal reasoning are also used here. This type of research is
otherwise called "Data Research" and it is also considered to be pure research.
The special treatment given to the privileged class prisoners should be
eradicated to provide equality before law subject to the treatment given to the
other prisoners also in India.
India Code (Digital Repository of All Central and State Acts), clearly explains
the twelve chapters of The Prisons Act, 1894 in which maintenance and officers
of prisons, Duties of officers in prison, Admission, Removal, and Discharge of
Prisoners, Discipline of Prisoners, Food, clothing, and bedding of Civil and
unconvicted criminal prisoners, Employment of prisoners, Health of prisoners,
Visits to prisoners, Offences in relation to prisoners and Prison Offences.
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the First
United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of
Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social
Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13
Handbook of Human Rights and Criminal Justice in India - second edition - SAHRDC
(South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre) clearly explains the treatment of
prisoners and the Human Rights of the prisoners.
India News website highlighted the topic named "India's VIP prisoners: Jailed
Politicians, businessmen, and godmen get special treatment; have TVs, ordered
food at disposal.
Section 3 of The Prisons Act, 1894 (Chapter I):
- "Prison" means any jail or place used permanently or temporarily under
the general or special orders of a State Government for the detention of
prisoners, and includes all lands and buildings appurtenant thereto, but
does not include:
- any place for the confinement of prisoners who are exclusively in the
custody of the police;
- any place specially appointed by the State Government under section 541
of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882; or
- any place which has been declared by the State Government, by general or
special order, to be a subsidiary jail
- "Criminal prisoner" means any prisoner duly committed to custody under
the writ, warrant, or order of any Court or authority exercising criminal
jurisdiction, or by order of a Court-martial
- "convicted criminal prisoner" means any criminal prisoner under sentence
of a Court or Court-martial, and includes a person detained in prison under
the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882, (10
of 1882) or under the Prisoners Act, 1871 (5 of 1871)
- "Civil prisoner" means any prisoner who is not a criminal prisoner
- "remission system" means the rules for the time being in force
regulating the award of marks to, and the consequent shortening of sentences
of, prisoners in jails.
- "history-ticket" means the ticket exhibiting such information as is
required in respect of each prisoner by this Act or the rules thereunder
- "Inspector General" means the Inspector General of Prisons
- "Medical subordinate" means an Assistant Surgeon, Apothecary, or
qualified hospital Assistant and
- "Prohibited article" means an article the introduction or removal of
which into or out of a prison is prohibited by any rule under this Act.
Maintenance And Officers Of Prisons: (Chapter II)
Sec 4 - Accommodation for prisoners:
The State Government shall provide, for the prisoners in the territories under
such Government, accommodation in prisons constructed and regulated in such
manner as to comply with the requisitions of this Act in respect of the
separation of prisoners.
Sec 5 - Inspector General:
An Inspector General shall be appointed for the territories subject to each
State Government and shall exercise, subject to the orders of the State
Government the general control and superintendence of all prisons situated in
the territories under such Government.
Sec 6 - Officers of prisons.
For every prison, there shall be a superintendent, a Medical Officer (who may
also be the Superintendent), a Medical Subordinate, a Jailer and such other
officers as the State Government thinks necessary: Provided that [the State
Government of Bombay] may declare by order in writing that in any prison
specified in the order the office of Jailer shall be held by the person
appointed to be Superintendent.
Sec 7 - Temporary accommodation for prisoners
Whenever it appears to the Inspector General that the number of prisoners in any
prison is greater than can conveniently or safely be kept therein, and it is not
convenient to transfer the excess number to some other prison, or whenever from
the outbreak of epidemic disease within any prison, or for any other reason, it
is desirable to provide for the temporary shelter and safe custody of any
prisoners, the provision shall be made, by such officer and in such manner as
the State Government may direct, for the shelter and safe custody in temporary
prisons of so many of the prisoners as cannot be conveniently or safely kept in
Duties Of Officers (Chapter III):
Sec 15 - Report on death of a prisoner.-
On the death of any prisoner, the Medical Officer shall forthwith record in a
register the following particulars, so far as they can be ascertained, namely:
- the day on which the deceased first complained of illness or was
observed to be ill,
- the labor, if any, on which he was engaged on that day,
- the scale of his diet on that day,
- the day on which he was admitted to hospital,
- the day on which the Medical Officer was first informed of the illness,
- the nature of the disease,
- when the deceased was last seen before his death by the Medical Officer
or Medical Subordinate.
- when the prisoner died, and
- (In cases where a post-mortem examination is made) an account of the
appearances after death, together with any special remarks that appear to
the Medical Officer to be required.
Admission, Removal, And Discharge Of Prisoners (Chapter Iv):
Sec - 24. Prisoners to be examined on admission:
Sec 25 - Effects of prisoners:
- Whenever a prisoner is admitted into prison, he shall be searched, and
all weapons and prohibited articles shall be taken from him.
- Every criminal prisoner shall also, as soon as possible after admission,
be examined under the general or special orders of the Medical Officer, who
shall enter or cause to be entered in a book, to be kept by the Jailer, a
record of the state of the prisoner's health, and of any wounds or marks on
his person, the class of labor he is fit for if sentenced to rigorous
imprisonment, and any observations which the Medical Officer thinks fit to
- In the case of female prisoners the search and examination shall be
carried out by the matron under the general or special orders of the Medical
All money or other articles in respect whereof no order of a competent Court has
been made, and which may with proper authority be brought into the prison by any
criminal prisoner or sent to the prison for his use, shall be placed in the
custody of the Jailer.
Sec 26 - Removal and discharge of prisoners:
- All prisoners, previously to being removed to any other prison, shall be
examined by the Medical Officer.
- No prisoner shall be removed from one prison to another unless the
Medical Officer certifies that the prisoner is free from any illness
rendering him unfit for removal.
- No prisoner shall be discharged against his will from prison, if
laboring under any acute or dangerous distemper, nor until, in the opinion
of the Medical Officer, such discharge is safe.
Discipline Of Prisoners (Chapter V):
Sec 27 - Separation of prisoners
The requisitions of this Act with respect to the separation of prisoners are
Sec - 30. Prisoners under sentence of death
- In a prison containing female as well as male prisoners, the females
shall be imprisoned in separate buildings, or separate parts of the same
building, in such manner as to prevent their seeing, or conversing or
holding any intercourse with, the male prisoners;
- In a prison where male prisoners under the age of [twenty-one] are
confined, means shall be provided for separating them altogether from the
other prisoners and for separating those of them who have arrived at the age
of puberty from those who have not;
- Unconvicted criminal prisoners shall be kept apart from convicted criminal
- Civil prisoners shall be kept apart from criminal prisoners.
- Every prisoner under sentence of death shall, immediately on his arrival
in the prison after sentence, be searched by, or by order of, the Jailer,
and all articles shall be taken from him which the Jailer deems it dangerous
or inexpedient to leave in his possession.
- Every such prisoner shall be confined in a cell apart from all other
prisoners and shall be placed by day and by night under the charge of a
Health Of Prisoners (Chapter VIII):
Sec - 37. Sick prisoners
Sec - 39. Hospital.
- The names of prisoners desiring to see the Medical Subordinate or
appearing out of health in mind or body shall, without delay, be reported by
the officer in immediate charge of such prisoners to the Jailer.
- The Jailer shall, without delay, call the attention of the Medical
Subordinate to any prisoners desiring to see him, or who is ill, or whose
state of mind or body appears to require attention, and shall carry into
effect all written directions given by the Medical Officer or Medical
Subordinate respecting alterations of the discipline or treatment of any
In every prison, a hospital or proper place for the reception of sick prisoners
shall be provided.
Offences In Relation To Prisons (Chapter X):
Sec 42 - Penalty for introduction or removal of prohibited articles into or
from prison and communication with prisoners:
Whoever, contrary to any rule under section  introduces or removes, or
attempts by any means whatever to introduce or remove, into or from any prison,
or supplies or attempts to supply to any prisoner outside the limits of prison,
any prohibited article,
and every officer of prison who, contrary to any such rule, knowingly suffers
any such article to be introduced into or removed from any prison, to be
possessed by any prisoner, or to be supplied to any prisoner outside the limits
of a prison,
and whoever, contrary to any such rules, communicates or attempts to communicate
with any prisoner,
and whoever abets any offense made punishable by this section,
shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to imprisonment for a term
not exceeding six months, or to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to
International Conventions (Rights Of Prisoners):
International Human Rights Law:
International human rights laws protect people from racial discrimination,
torture, and enforced disappearances. They also recognize the rights of specific
groups of people, including women, children, people with disability, indigenous
peoples, and migrant workers. Some of these treaties are complemented by
optional protocols that deal with specific issues or allow people to make
The charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco,
at the conclusion of the United Nations conference on international
organization, and came into force on October 24, 1945. Basic Principles for the
Treatment of Prisoners  was adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly
resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990.
The principles are as follows:
shall be treated with inherent dignity and valued as human beings. No
discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, color, language, religion,
political, national, social origin, property, birth, or another status. Respect
the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which the prisoners
belong to the responsibility of the prisons for the custody of the prisoners and
for the protection of the society against crime and its fundamental
responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of
Abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its
use, should be undertaken or encouraged.
Prisoners undertake meaningful remunerated employment which will facilitate
their reintegration into the country's labor market and permit them to
contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.
Access to health services without discrimination on the grounds of their legal
With the participation and help of the community and social institutions and
with regard to the interest of victims, favorable conditions shall be created
for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society.
The above principles shall be applied impartially.
International Bill Of Rights:
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: (UDHR)
In 1948 a movement was started in the United Nations in the form of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted in the General Assembly
of the United Nations. This organic document is also called as Human Rights
Declaration. This important document provides some basic principles of the
administration of justice. Among the provisions in the document are follows:
The International Covenants On Civil And Political Rights, 1966: (ICCPR)
- No one should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading
treatment or punishment.
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
- No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.
- Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent
until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had
all the guarantees necessary for his defense.
The ICCPR remains the core instrumental treaty on the protection of the rights
of the prisoners. Following relevant provisions of the covenants areas:
UN Core Conventions And Specific Instruments:
- No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or
- Everyone has the right to liberty and the security of a person. No one shall be
subject to arbitrary arrest or detention.
- All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with
respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
- No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a
Standard Minimum Rules for The Treatment of Prisoners:
Amnesty International in 1955 formulated certain standard rules for the
treatment of prisoners. Some important relevant rules are as follow:
The principle of equality should prevail; there shall be no discrimination on
grounds of race, sex, color, religion. Political or another opinion, national or
social origin, property, birth, or another status among prisoners.
Men and women shall so far as possible be detained in the separate institutions;
Complete separation between civil prisoners and persons imprisoned by reason of
criminal offense; young prisoners should be kept separate from the adult
All sorts of cruel inhuman degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited.
Availability of at least one qualified Medical officer with the knowledge of
Convention Against, Torture, And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or
- The state party has to take effective legislative, judicial, and other measures
to prevent acts of torture.
- No state party shall expel, return or extradite a person who is in danger of
being subjected to torture.
- The State party should ensure that all acts of torture are offenses under its
Indian Law (Rights Of Prisoners):
The rights guaranteed in part III of the Indian Constitution are available
to prisoners; because a prisoner is treated as a person in prison. 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.
guarantees six freedoms to citizens of India, among which certain freedom
cannot be enjoyed by the prisoners. They are freedom of movement, freedom to
the residence and to settle, and freedom of profession. But other freedoms
conferred in this article are enjoyed by the prisoners. Moreover, the
constitution provides various other provisions that cannot directly be
called prisoner's rights but may be relevant. Among them are Article 20(1),
(2), and Article 21 and Article 22(4-7)
- Enactments And Rules:
- 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 the mental and physical state of prisoners.
Examination of prisoners by a qualified medical officer. Separation of prisoners
for male, female, criminal, civil, convicted, and under trial prisoners.
Provisions for treatment of undertrials, civil prisoners, parole, and temporary
release of prisoners.
- 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 another place where he will be given proper treatment. Any court which is a
high court may in the case in which it has recommended to the government the
granting of a free pardon to any prisoner, permit him to be at liberty on his
- 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.
- 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 the charge of an offense.
Basic Principles For The Treatment Of Prisoners:
Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990
- All prisoners shall be treated with respect due to their inherent
dignity and value as human beings.
- There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex,
language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth, or another status.
- It is, however, desirable to respect the religious beliefs and cultural
precepts of the group to which prisoners belong, whenever local conditions
- The responsibility of prisons for the custody of prisoners and for the
protection of society against crime shall be discharged in keeping with a
State's other social objectives and its fundamental responsibilities for
promoting the well-being and development of all members of society.
- Except for those limitations that are demonstrably necessitated by the
fact of incarceration, all prisoners shall retain the human rights and
fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
and, where the State concerned is a party, the International Covenant on
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as
such other rights as are set out in other United Nations covenants.
- All prisoners shall have the right to take part in cultural activities
and education aimed at the full development of the human personality.
- Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a
punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and
- Conditions shall be created enabling prisoners to undertake meaningful
remunerated employment which will facilitate their reintegration into the
country's labor market and permit them to contribute to their own financial
support and to that of their families.
- Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the
country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
- With the participation and help of the community and social
institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favorable
conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into
society under the best possible conditions.
- The above Principles shall be applied impartially.
Role Of Judiciary In Protecting The Rights Of Prisoners:
As emphasized earlier, the conviction of a human does not render him non-human.
He still remains a human who should be treated like one. He should be given the
basic human rights available to every man walking on the earth. But at the same
time, he should not be treated as a free man with all absolute rights and
luxuries. His freedom should be subject to certain limitations and legal
restrictions. These restrictions, in addition, should be reasonable.
Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration
It has been emphatically stated that it must be realized that a prisoner is a
human being as well as a natural person or a legal person. If a person gets
convicted for a crime, it does not reduce him to the status of a non-person
whose rights could be snatched away at the whims of the prison administration.
Therefore, imposing any major punishment within the system of prison is
conditional upon the absence of procedural safeguards.
The Supreme Court of India has been deliberating with the central and state
governments for a long time to improve the deteriorating condition of the
prisoners which is fundamental because of the overcrowding of prisons, lack of
training facilities, personnel, poor infrastructure, etc. Therefore, it is
mandatory to invoke the rights and constitutional safeguards of the prisoners.
Such rights, unless they are propagated and implemented in each corner and the
entire perimeter of the prism, are a nullity and betrayal of human faith in the
criminal justice delivery system.
Fundamental rights form the core of human rights in India. They are the basic
rights of the citizens which cannot be taken away under any circumstances. The
law of the country also guarantees some of these rights to the prisoners too
like Articles 14, 19, 21. However, it cannot impose the fundamental rights in
its full panoply to the advantage of the prisoners. Giving prisoners the Right
to Fair procedure forms the soul of Article 21. Levying reasonableness in any
restriction is the essence of Article 19(5) and sweeping discretion degenerating
into arbitrary discrimination is anathema for Article 14.
State of Maharashtra vs Prabhakar Pandurang Sanzio
The Supreme Court stated that the mere fact that someone is detained cannot
deprive one of his fundamental rights and that such conditions are not to be
extended to the extent of the deprivation of fundamental rights of the detained
individual. The Court further ruled that every prisoner retains all such rights
that are enjoyed by free citizens except the one that is lost necessarily as an
incident of confinement.
Right to Privacy:
In India, however, this right is perhaps the most violated. The right to privacy
in respect to search and seizure was first raised in the 1950s, where the apex
court ruled that search and seizure cannot be seen as violative of Article
19(1)(f) of the Indian constitution and a mere search by itself does not nullify
or harm an individual's right to property. Even if search or seizure affected
such right then its effect is temporary and is to be construed as a reasonable
restriction on the rights of individuals.
Rahmath Nisha vs Additional Director General of Prisoners and Others
The accused was given 10 days' leave to visit his wife. But, due to serious
illness, his wife was transferred to the hospital in ICU by the time he reached
home. However, the police escort that accompanied the accused refused to let him
visit the hospital citing that permission has been granted to visit home only.
The Madras Court held that the prisoner should be allowed to visit his wife in
hospital and that the meeting between him and his wife should not be monitored.
The court stated that when a prisoner is united with his wife, he might like to
hold her in the hands of his partner. It's natural that his emotions would find
physical expression. Therefore, the right to privacy and dignity of the
prisoners should be scrupulously safeguarded. It is also important that the
conversation between the prisoner and his partner or spouse should go
Right to live with human dignity:
The right of a human being to live with dignity is protected by the
constitution. This right is also given to the prisoners as their mere conviction
does not render them inhuman. This right forms a significant part of the right
to life guaranteed under the constitution of India. The idea behind this is that
every person's life is precious and irrespective of the circumstances, he should
be given a sense of dignity to help him continue living. The courts have
enlarged the scope of Article 21 to include this right.
Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India
The apex court propounded a new dimension of Article 21 wherein it stated that
the "right to life or live" does not confine itself to mere physical existence
but also includes the right to live with human dignity.
Right to health and medical treatment:
The right to health is an important right. The Constitution of India
incorporates provisions guaranteeing every individual the right to the highest
attainable standard of physical and mental health. In a series of judgments, the
highest court of the land has held that the right to health care is a crucial
element of Article 21. Article 21 of the Constitution imposes an obligation on
the State to safeguard an individual's life.
Parmanand Katara vs Union of India
The court held that a doctor working at a Government hospital is bound by duty
to extend any type of medical assistance for preserving life. In fact, every
doctor has a professional obligation of extending his services to the patients
(be it anyone) with due diligence and expertise in order to protect his life.
Therefore, any legal body cannot intervene to cause a delay in the discharge of
obligations and duties cast upon the members of the medical profession.
Right to a speedy trial:
It is very well said that justice delayed is justice denied. Every prisoner has
a right to a speedy trial irrespective of the crime he is convicted of. Speedy
trial is considered an integral part of the criminal justice delivery system.
Once a person is accused, he must be subject to speedy trials so as to punish
him for the crime he committed or absolve him from it, if not proven guilty.
No one should be subject to long, pending, and tiresome trials as it not only
violates the rights of an individual but is considered to be the denial of
justice altogether. The right to a speedy trial, therefore, has become a
universally recognized human right. Moreover, the right to a speedy trial is
also contained under Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If this
provision of the CrPC is followed and implemented in its true spirit, all the
grievances and queries of prisoners could be resolved.
AR Antulay vs RS Nayak
The Supreme Court laid down comprehensive guidelines for accused convicted in a
criminal case, however, it did not prescribe a fixed time period for the trial
of offenses. The court said that the right to speedy trial flows from Article 21
and it includes in its ambit all the stages of investigation like inquiry,
trial, appeal, revision, and re-trial. The court further stated that an accused
cannot be denied his right to speedy trial merely on the ground that he did not
demand the same.
It also reiterated that the time limit of a trial needs to be decided by keeping
certain circumstances in mind such as the nature of the offense, number of
accused, number of witnesses, the amount of workload on the court, etc. The
court finally comes to the conclusion in the interest of natural justice that
when the right to speedy trial of a convict has been violated the charges of the
conviction shall be quashed.
Right to legal aid:
Legal assistance plays a significant part in the life of an accused awaiting
trial or any prisoner or convicts, for that matter. The 42nd amendment to the
constitution (1976)of India incorporated services of free legal aid as Article
39A under the head Directive Principles of State Policy. Though this article is
part of the directive principles of state policy and hence, not enforceable, the
principles underlined therein are of utmost importance. It is incumbent upon the
State to keep this article in mind while framing rules and regulations for
prisoners, criminals, or convicts.
Madhav Hayawadhanrao Hoskot vs the State of Maharashtra
The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India read Articles 21 and
Articles 39-A along with Article 142 and Section 304 of CrPC together emphasized
that the government of the country is under a duty to aid and provide legal
services to the convicted or accused individual. Justice Krishna Iyer
emphatically declared that the "Right to free legal aid is the State's duty and
not Government's charity".
Right to Education:
The right to education is a Fundamental Right and therefore it should be given
to every citizen of the country. Along with education, it is compulsory that the
right type of education should be imparted.
Mohammed Giasuddin vs the State of AP
The court tried to regulate the manner of work and education provided to the
inmates of the jail. It directed the state government to look into the nature of
work and education given to the prisoners and check that the work provided is
"not of a monotonous, mechanical, intellectual or like type mixed with a title
The court further stated the facilities of liaison through correspondence
courses must also be given to the prisoners who are interested in doing higher
or advanced studies. Moreover, basic learning such as tailoring, embroidery,
doll-making should be extended to the women prisoners. In addition to that,
well-educated prisoners should be given the opportunities to engage in some sort
of mental-cum-manual productive work.
Right to publication:
The Supreme court held in a case wherein the prisoner was not allowed to read a
scientific book that there was nothing in the Bombay Detention Order, 1951 that
prohibits a prisoner from writing or publishing a book. It stated that the book
prisoner wanted to read was merely a work of science, ("Inside the Atom") and it
could not be regarded as detrimental to public interest or safety as provided
under the Defence of India Rules, 1962.
Rajgopal vs State of Tamil Nadu
The Supreme Court held that there was no authority in law that could priorly
deny the permission to publish the autobiography of Auto Shankar (prisoner)
under the fear or impression that it would cause deformation of prominent IAS
and IPS officers. The concerned officials can take action after the publication
and only if the publications are false.
Special Treatment Given To The Privileged Class Prisoners In India:
Gurmeet Ram Rahim
After being convicted of rape, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was
lodged in an air-conditioned room in the prison near Rohtak town, police sources
said. They further added that the disgraced baba continued to receive special
treatment from Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar government, who arranged for a
helicopter and helped Rahim in availing amenities meant for police officials.
Rahim's daughter, Honeypreet, being a woman was allowed to accompany him with
suitcases and bags after he was taken into custody in Panchkula. Even after
being convicted, he was shown full respect by a section of officers.
Sasikala was provided with a special kitchen within the jail premises along with
several other amenities. According to an RTI query seeking details of the report
compiled by an inquiry committee that looked into allegations of special
treatment (made by then DIG (Prisons) D Roopa in July 2017), Sasikala, who is
serving imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case, was given preferential
treatment and a separate kitchen functioned for her at the Parappana Agrahara
Central Jail in Bengaluru. Sasikala was convicted to four years in jail in 2017.
The 295-page report filed by retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar confirmed Roopa's
claims about the ousted AIADMK leader being given special treatment in the jail.
The reply was furnished by MR Shobha, Public Relations Officer of the Home
Department. In her report submitted on 12 July to DGP (Prisons) HN
Sathyanarayana Rao, Roopa had said there was "a talk" that Rs 2 crore had
exchanged hands to give preferential treatment to Sasikala.
The allegations were against Rao as well, but he had rejected them. The report
said that Sasikala was allowed to wear personal clothing and cook food for
herself. A pressure cooker and spices were found in her prison cell to
corroborate this claim. It also said that there was a separate visitors' room
for her and the corridor in the jail was barricaded for her. Sasikala was
provided five cells, despite no threat to her life as per intelligence reports,
the report said.
The inquiry committee report said Sasikala enjoyed free movement within the
prison which was corroborated by video clips. One of the videos showed Sasikala
and co-convict Elavarasi going out of the female barrack with a bag in hand, it
said. The videos were submitted to the commission by Roopa along with other CCTV
footage from inside the prison. The report also found that, as per the CCTV
footage, Sasikala met with a person in a white shirt and white pants for over
four hours on 11 June 2017, while the maximum time that a prisoner can spend
with a visitor is only 45 minutes.
Apparently, the records in the prison register were fudged to allow Sasikala to
meet visitors for a longer duration. Serious lapses
and "falsification of
records" on the part of senior prison officials in extending this treatment have
been revealed. According to the report, while Sasikala was entitled to only one
room, she was given five for private use after vacating the prisoners who lived
There was no professional evaluation of the threat perception to justify the
claim that five cells and other facilities were provided on the grounds of
security. She was also allocated a first-floor room, especially for visitors,
the report said.
Sahara India Parivar chief Subrata Roy, who was imprisoned in Delhi's Tihar Jail
in March 2014 for failing to refund Rs 20,000 crore to depositors and banks,
paid Rs 31 lakh (later the amount was reported to be Rs 1.23 crore for a year)
for special privileges for 57 days. These included an air-conditioned room,
western-style toilet, mobile phone, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing facilities.
The bill to Roy's company towards his stay came up to be about Rs 54,400 a day,
as per a Business Standard report. Roy was also given security personnel.
According to journalist Sunetra Choudhury who writes in her book Behind Bars:
Prison Tales of India's Most Famous, Roy enjoyed benefits that had "never been
seen by anybody in prison before".
Subrata Roy is the first person in the history of Tihar Jail to have comforts of
airconditioning, Choudhary notes in her book. "...Because the court allowed Roy
to use the video conference facilities (to hold meetings for raising capital to
pay off the debt), it (his cell) had a meeting and conference rooms. "Even
Indira Gandhi didn't have this comfort when she came to stay here," Choudhary
claims in the book.
Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh - who was sent to the Tihar Jail for
his alleged role in the cash-for-vote scam - reportedly, cited a chronic kidney
problem and urinary tract infection to avoid the usual nature of a jail stay.
Hence, instead of sharing space with other inmates in the barracks, Singh got a
separate ward. According to several media reports, he was allowed home-cooked
meals, mineral water, and an attached western-style toilet. Two cellmates were
also reportedly kept at his disposal for cleaning his ward four to five times a
day with disinfectant and spraying insecticide inside it to keep mosquitoes at
Lalu Prasad Yadav
Former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had access to many
comforts when he spent three months at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in 2013 in
connection with the multi-crore fodder scam. Unlike other inmates, Lalu was
provided with a TV set in his prison room and even had two personal cooks, who
served him the food of his choice. Lalu's jail menu included rice, fresh
vegetables, mutton/chicken or fish, ghee, and seasonal fruits with the option of
getting food from outside.
He also enjoyed longer visiting hours in comparison with regular inmates, an
upper-division cell, and extra time to stroll within the premises after other
prisoners had returned to their cells. Many politicians and bureaucrats often
cite health reasons to escape the rigors of prison life and Lalu was among those
who took advantage of the same.
Bibi Jagir Kaur
Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former Shiromani Akali Dal minister, was convicted of
kidnapping and killing her own daughter. The charges were, however, later
dropped by the court. But during her time in Kapurthala Central Jail, Kaur was
given special treatment. She had a 32-inch television in her cell and it was
believed that officials ran to touch her feet as soon as she arrived in the
prison. She even had free access to a mobile phone.
Convicted of Jessica Lal's murder, Manu Sharma was a resident of Tihar Jail. In
2009, he made a request for parole to visit his ailing mother. However, Sharma
was spotted partying not long after he was out of jail. While attending a
discotheque in Delhi, he found himself in the middle of a brawl with a Delhi
cop's son who corroborated Sharma's presence in the bar. His parole was cut
short and he was back to prison.
Vikas Yadav was convicted of Nitish Katara's murder
alongside his brother Vishal
Yadav. During the first two years of his incarceration, he was out on bail 66
times and often got involved in criminal brawls, including Jessica Lal's murder
case. He spent most of his prison time in hospitals citing health issues even
when he had none. He even managed to step out on a Diwali night with the help of
two policemen who were later suspended.
Prisoners do not cease to be human beings when put behind bars. The Supreme
Court and many other courts of India have reiterated this position in several
cases so that prisoners do not become a victim themselves. And are provided with
a proper rehabilitative environment to help them improve and become better
It is incumbent upon the Central and State governments to not only provide the
prisoners with humane conditions for a living but also educate them about their
rights so that it is not abused by the powerful inside the prison. It could be
said that the judiciary of the country has played a crucial role in safeguarding
the rights of prisoners whenever the legislative and executive have erred. It
has acted as the savior of the convicts and upheld their fundamental rights time
and time again.
It has thoroughly exercised its powers through judicial activism and has
repeatedly devised new remedies and tools to protect the human's right to life
and personal liberty. However, much still needs to be done. In this regard, the
wide circulation of human rights available to prisoners, vast publicity of
prisoners' rights in media, and corner to corner surveillance in prisons could
be some of the keys for upholding the rights of prisoners and ensuring their
safe space in the prison.
When compared to the privileged class prisoners and the other prisoners, the
privileged class prisoners do not suffer a lot like the other prisoners. The
privileged class prisoners who are otherwise called white-collar criminals
(upper strata of the society) are given special treatment in the prisons in
India. This is considered unconstitutional because special treatment like
providing air conditioners, healthy meals, providing TVs which violates Article
14 of the Constitution of India provides for equality before the law or equal
protection of the laws within the territory of India.
This type of discrimination done to the other prisoners when compared to the
privileged class prisoners should be eradicated in our country. Proper
education, proper diet, healthcare, proper sanitation, and water supply, proper
clothing and bedding facilities, library, grievance redressal should be provided
to all the prisoners in our country without any discrimination and differences
keeping in mind about the privileged class people committing the white-collar
crimes also are the criminals alike the other prisoners. Equality should be
given to all the prisoners in our country which will reduce the crime rate also
in return obviously.
- All the prisoners should be treated equally with due respect due to
their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
- There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex,
language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth, or another status.
- Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the
country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
- Harsh punishment should be given to white-collar criminals to curb
white-collar crimes like hoarding, black marketing, tax evasion,
adulteration in our country.
- Creating public awareness against white-collar crimes through the media
of press, platform, and other audio-visual aids.
- Strengthening the law enforcement agencies like CBI (Central Bureau of
Investigation), CID(Crime Investigation Department) would eradicate the
problems of white-collar crimes and the partiality put forth in the society
should also be changed.
- Special tribunals similar to fast track courts should be constituted
with the power to award sentences of imprisonment up to ten years even life
imprisonment for white-collar crimes should be executed and the privileged
class prisoners should also be treated as the other prisoners, there should
not be any differences.
- More stringent regularity laws & punishment for white-collar crimes for
effective implementation with a clear message of deterrence should be
implemented in our country so that the privileged class people should not
enjoy the privileges always.
- IPC (Indian Penal Code) should have separate chapters on white-collar
crimes so that white-collar crimes are connected by the court do not escape
punishment because of high social status.
- Public vigilance will always be required to have a positive change in
the long run and the crime rate should be decreased rather than looking at
differences between high-class crimes and lower-class crimes.
- https://www.legalserviceindia.com/author-155-jayaram-swathy.html/ Rights
of Prisoners.pdf; visited on 1.1.2022
visited on 1.1.2022
- PRISONS ACT 1894.pdf by Government Of India (Ministry Of Law); The
Prisons Act,1894(ACT IX OF 1894)as modified up to the 1st January 1957
visited on 2.1.2022
- https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/Home.aspx>Basic Principles for the
Treatment of Prisoners; visited on 2.1.2022
visited on 2.1.2022
- 1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557
- 1986 (1) BomCR 272
- Madras High Court 01 Jun 2019
- 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR(2)621
- 1989 AIR 2039, 1989 SCR (3) 997
- 1988 AIR 1531, 1988 SCR Supl. (1) 1
- AIR 1978 SCC 1548, (1978) 3 SCC 544
- Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and Order dated the 25-10-1976
of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Crl. R., Case No. 660 of 1970 and Crl.
R.P. No. 646 of 1976.
- 1995 AIR 264, 1994 SCC (6) 632
- https://www.indiatimes.com/news>10 privileged Indians who got special
treatment in prison after being convicted of crimes; visited on 2.1.2022
- https://www.firstpost.com/India's VIP prisoners: Jailed politicians,
businessmen, and godmen get special treatment; have TVs, ordered food at
disposal; visited on 2.1.2022
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Sarala Jayakumar
Authentication No: FB203964197620-08-0222