Rights of a Prisoner

Less than 200 years ago, the attitude to prisons, prisoners and punishment was brutal and barbaric. Recognition of the human being in the convicted offender is an idea that has been accepted after a long struggle with the state.

The Indian socio-legal system is based on non-violence, mutual respect and human dignity of the individual. If a person commits any crime, it does not mean that by committing a crime, he ceases to be a human being and that he can be deprived of those aspects of life which constitutes human dignity. Even the prisoners have human rights because the prison torture is not the last drug in the Justice Pharmacopoeia but a confession of failure to do justice to living man. For a prisoner all fundamental rights are an enforceable reality, though restricted by the fact of imprisonment.

Article 21 of the Constitution guarantees the right of personal liberty and thereby prohibits any inhuman, cruel or degrading treatments to any person whether he is a national or foreigner. Any violation of this right attracts the provisions of Article 14 of the Constitution which enshrines right to equality and equal protection of law. In addition to this, the question of cruelty to prisoners is also dealt with specifically by the Prison Act, 1894. Continue reading “Rights of a Prisoner”