Written By: Supriti Bhargava

The constitution safeguards the democracy of our country with the help of three organs namely legislative, executive and judiciary that are amalgamate as they work in an arrangement and ramification as a link between the individual and state. As we are being in the federal constitution with the unique i.e. separation of powers and function between the organs.  Article 13 of the constitution of India covers the Judicial Review which was taken from the constitution of United States by the morality of which the Judiciary can strike down any law that it finds to be changeable with the law. The topic Judicial Activism basically means keeping an eye on the government works that whether they are working under the depth of their power as allowed by the constitution. The article expressly shows the real picture of the prisoners in Jail after being convicted by the court. The main objective of giving punishment is for reformation so they believe that behind sending the person to jail so that when he returns after his sentence is terminated he proves to be a useful person to the society. Therefore, the role of Judiciary does not end after passing the sentence they also need to ensure that the prisoner is being given his/her rights inside the jail too but in the year 1979 in the case Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration letter was sent to Justice Krishnaiyer and letter was in regards of brutal assault by the head warder on another prisoner named Prem Chand. This letter was sent by the Sunil Batra and letter had been treated as Public Interest Litigation (P.I.L) under Article 32 of Indian Constitution.

Facts of the case are as follows:

  • Over here Sunil Batra was the petitioner and he was convicted under death sentence lodged in the Tihar Central Jail. He wrote a letter to Krishnaiyer and letter was in regards to a brutal assault by the head warder on another prisoner named Prem Chand. This letter was sent by the Sunil Batra and letter had been treated as Public Interest Litigation (P.I.L) under Article 32 of Indian Constitution.
  • In the letter, Batra disclosed a crime of torture practiced upon another prisoner named Prem Chand by the Jail warder named Magger Singh so that he can extract money from the victim through his visiting relations.
  • Court treated this issue seriously and accordingly, issued a notice to the state and the concerned officials and Dr. Y.S. Chitals and Sri Mukul, Mudgal was appointed as amicus. They were allowed to visit the prison, meet the prisoner look, over the conditions of the prisoners, interview of the necessary witness so as to know the actual position inside the jail of the prisoner and understand the cruel scenario of prisoners.
  • Counsel on both sides have sensitized the issue of prison justice admirably and catalyzed the cause of jail reforms effectively.
  • The prisoner Prem Chand was kept in the punishment cell which according to Chitale was similar to the type of insulated confinement condemned as unconstitutional by this Court in Sunil Batra’s court.
  • Prem Chand sustained serious and anal injuries on August 26, 1979, because a rod was driven into that sore aperture to inflict inhuman
  • It was mentioned by Dr. V.K. Kapoor on 2nd October 1979 in Jail Hospital register that one prisoner Prem Chand Pyare Lal had developed tear of anes due to force insertion of the stick by someone. He requires surgical repair and his bleeding had not stopped. Then he was immediately taken to Irwin Hospital.
  • After the prisoner was subjected to brutal hurt he was removed to the jail hospital and later to the Irwin Hospital but on his retransfer, he was neglected.

After this Supreme Court focuses on the rights of the prisoners. With the focused on rights of the prisoners, it has been found that the court has the power and the responsibility to interview the prisoner, protect the prisoner against crude or subtle and may use Habeas Corpus for enforcing in prison humanism and forbiddance of harsher restraints and heavier severities than the sentences carries.

According to rule and Prisons act the Supreme Court understand observed that the court must understand these provisions to cover the ground of reception of grievance from prisoners and issuance of orders thereon after prompt enquiry the district magistrate that in this capacity he is a judicial officer and not on executive head and must function as such independently of the prison executive. To make prisoners rights in correctional institutions viable the Supreme Court directed the district magistrate concerned to inspect the jails in his district once every week, prisoners and enquire into them immediately.

Over here Supreme Court held that Prem Chand has been tortured illegally and the superintendent cannot absolve himself from responsibility even though he may not be directed the superintendent to ensure that no corporal punishment or personal violence on Prem Chand shall be inflicted. No irons shall be forced on the person of Prem Chand in Vindictive Spirit.

According to the case Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration important Principles of law described over here are–

  • With keeping in the mind Article 19 of Indian Constitution, there must be liberal visits to prisoners by family and friends just be allowed.
  • Punishment of Rigorous imprisonment over here is to do hard labor, not harsh labor. A vindictive officer victimizing by forcing on him particularly harsh and degrading work which violated law’s mandate.
  • Solitary confinement is unconstitutional with the view of Article 14, 19, 20(2) and 21 of Indian Constitution.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution of India also provides protection of the rights to the prisoners.
  • Technicalities and legal entities are no impediment to the court entertaining even an informal communication as a proceeding for habeas corpus under article 32 or 226 of the constitution if basic facts are found.
  • To give effect to the sentence mean that it is illegal to exceed it and so it follows that prison official who goes beyond mere imprisonment or deprivation of locomotion and assaulting or otherwise compels the doing of their not covered by the sentence acts in violation of Article 19 of Constitution of India
  • A prisoner wears the amour of basic freedom even behind bars and that on breach thereof by lawless officials the law will respond to his distress signal through ‘writ’ aid. The Indian human has a constant companion the court armed with the constitution. The weapon is habeas corpus, the part III and projectile is Batra’s case [AIR 1978 SCC 1675].

“Prisoners to are humans we are no one to torture them and there is no law permits us to subject them to an inhuman torture”


Edited By: Rachit Mehrotra

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