Rajasthan High Court: While coming down heavily upon the jail authorities the Court observed that the food provided to the prisoners is of the worst quality that can be given to any human being, the quality of the water is harshly compromised, and 150 inmates are distended in a barrack suitable for 50. The Court took suo motu cognizance of the State’s incapacitating prison system lately. The Court slammed the State government for neglecting basic human rights and infrastructural requirements of prisons and filing “false” compliance affidavits. It was also noted that general prisoners live in “pathetic and sub-human conditions”, while VIP inmates have a “gala good time”.

The Court made sharp, factual observations about prison sanitation, food, healthcare and infrastructure, among other things. It was also noted that “the ratio of toilets per inmate is humongous. For example, in Barracks 4A, there are four toilets for nearly 200-250 inmates and that too without water supply. There are no gates on the toilets,”

The division bench comprising J K Ranka and Mohammad Rafiq JJ., outlined 45 clear cut directives and ordered the government to file a compliance/progress report before it every month starting April this year. It asked the government to ensure minimum one toilet, fitted with flush type latrine and a cubicle for bathing, for every batch of 10 prisoners. These directives also included setting up adequate kitchens, introducing a new breakfast menu, ensuring inmates get one sweet item per week, making enough newspapers and novels available, organising fortnightly movie screenings, construction of adequate toilets and doing away with the system of segregating VIP prisoners, “most of whom are ex-ministers and senior bureaucrats”. [Suo Motu v. State of Rajasthan, 2016 SCC OnLine Raj 173, decided on 27.01.2016]

To read the Judgment, click HERE

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