Guidelines issued by the Government for allowing visitor(s) into Jail

On 24.07.2015, the Government of India issued guidelines for all the States/ Union Territories for allowing any private individual/ Press/ NGO/ Company, whether Indian or foreigner, into jail for the purpose of making documentaries, writing articles, interviewing inmates or any other similar research activity.

The Government of the State/ Union Territory may allow entry of visitors/ press/ documentary makers into the prison only on the satisfaction that the documentary/ article/ research will serve the purpose of creating positive social impact, or relates to prison reforms, or the Government itself decides to invite press/ filmmakers to cover a particular event.

Measures to be taken for granting permission are as follows:

  • The visitor(s) has to submit an application to the Jail Superintendent (atleast 30 days before the date of visit). In case of foreigners (atleast 60 days before the date of visit). And, in case of article by print media (atleast 7 days before the date of visit).
  • The Jail Superintendent should immediately send the same to the Home/Prison Department of the State/ Union Territory (which is the competent authority to grant such permission) along with his comments.
  • While granting such permissions, various guidelines of the Supreme Court (Smt. Prabha Dutt v. UOI and others (1982) 1 SCC 1, Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra 1988(1); Bom CR 58, etc.) has to be kept in mind. 
  • The Jail Superintendent, after receiving the permission from the Home/Prison Department of the State/ Union Territory may allow such visitor(s) to see the prisoner in the visitor area. Provided, the visitor(s) has to sign an undertaking as well as submit a Security Deposit of Rs.1 lakh by way of a Demand Draft/local Bankers Cheque in the name of the Jail Superintendent of the concerned jail. 
  • Visitors may be allowed only Handycam/Camera/Tape recorder or equipments directly connected with the purpose of the visit. Tripod/stand mounted cameras/equipments should not be allowed.  No mobile phones/papers/ book/pen etc. should be allowed.
  • The Jail Superintendent (or the next senior most officer) should himself be present while the visitor(s) are touring the prison or interviewing the inmates.
  • No videography/ photography should be allowed which may create potential security risk or social/communal disturbance.
  • The visitor(s) has to handover all their equipments like Handycams, Dictaphone, Camera, tape recorder  or any other equipment to the Jail Superintendent for a period of three days after the completion of his visit.
  • The Jail Superintendent is empowered to delete any portion of the recording which he feels is objectionable. After careful scrutiny/editing of the said recording, the equipment shall be returned to the visitor.
  • The visitor(s) has to seek a “No objection certificate” from the State Government/Union Territory Administration/Head of Prison Department for publication/ release of the said film/ research paper/ articles/ books.
  • In case of any violation of these guidelines, or the undertaking given by the visitor(s), the Jail Superintendent is empowered to forfeit the security deposit and initiate suitable legal action against the said visitor(s).

Undertaking to be submitted by the Visitor(s) to the Jail Superintendent:

The visitor shall:

  • Carry  only  one  recording  device  as  permitted  by  the  Jail  Superintendent. 
  • Not carry any hidden recording devices while visiting the jail. 
  • Follow the journalistic conduct as prescribed by the Press Council of India while writing the news article/magazine.
  • Publish only the vetted and approved material of the research paper/ documentary/ film/ article/ book after obtaining the ‘No Objection Certificate’ from State Government/ Union Territory Administration/ Head of prison Department.
  • Release  the  film/  documentary  only  after  clearance  from  the  Jail  Superintendent  is  received. 
  • Handover all the equipments (Handy cams/ Cameras/ tape recorders/ Dictaphone etc.) to the Jail Superintendent after completion of the visit and collect them after 3 days. 
  • Not  release  the  documentary/  articles/  papers/  books  or  any  content  thereof  to  the  media/  social  media which is different  than  the vetted material.
  • Immediately  withdraw  from  circulation  the  documentary/  article/  paper/  book  or  any  content  thereof,  if  called  upon to do so by the authorized officer of the State Government/Union Territory. 
  • Enclose a  Demand  Draft/  Bankers  Cheque  of  Rs.1  lakh  and  undertake  that if there of violation of any  guidelines/ instructions  of  the  Authorities,  the  same may be forfeited. 


-Ministry of Home Affairs

One comment

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    The security deposit of Rs 1 laksh is very hefty to those who are conducting academic research in this area.Specially the research scholar i.e the student will face great problem to collect data for this hefty amount of security deposit.The Government should look into this matter.

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