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Will Prime Minister Modi Listen The Advice Of NHRC And Replace 127 Year Old Prison Act 1894 With New One?

A Fundamental research about the complicity century old, Prison Act 1894 usage in the Largest Democratic Country in the world for the last one Century, discussing the practical difficulty of Prison Reformation in India and It is carefully reviewed with socio-economic point of view as per the guidelines Human Rights Commission whether the education and Vocational training Programs to Prisoners may impact to the Reformation of Prisoner's Life.

The article will revolving with various facts related to Prisons, Prisoners, Acts across the country and trying to indicate the problems in the Jail Reformation system and recommend the government to enactment of New Law and engage all their related agencies properly in Reformation by providing educational and vocational training and obviously these programs help to secure the prisoner future and obviously the same will benefit to the Society.

The article also take some interesting reformation programs across the countries and indicate the Legislatives in Union of India, the need for a New Prison Reformation Act with a basis of Reformative theory, therefore the centaury old law get replaced with new enacted law for further establishment of rules in the state with better Integrated platform with Union for a uniform practice across the country in Prison Management.

Indian Prison- A View
The Constitution of India has listed the Prison and its administration as State Subject on the Seventh Schedule and it's governed by the Prison, as per the prison manual of the state. Hence, the Prison administration is a combination of state and central government subjects as per Prison Act 1894. Hence, both State and Union are commonly responsible for Prison administration whereas the Central Government may create National wide Acts, whereas the State may administer prisons and both have common responsibility.

But It is misunderstood by the Union that Prison is alone the State Subject for a very long time and the Union Government has overlooked the facts that providing social security, education, medicine is Union responsibility which resulted with no enhancement of new law, no proper amendment in Prison Act, 1894 for the last 127 years.

The states in the Union expecting the Union Government for appropriate reformation and Union certain limitations to enactment of national law; whereas some reasonable overlapping happen in the state & union in the prison administration, resulted that both Governments has overlooked the Prison Administration which pulled the Justice System into Dark pages, where the Prisons under the influences of abusive powers, corruption and crimes and the educational opportunity to prisoners kept in dark over 75 years.

It is said that Government of India has not allotted sufficient budget for Jail infrastructure, Jail Reformation and Prisoner welfare and education and Neither Congress, nor current Bharatiya Janatha Government pay attention in Jail reformation, has not enacted any laws for reformation, has not engaged their agencies properly to reform the jails, has allotted sufficient budget for prison and continue to pushed those under the state perusal and hence, no development happen for almost 75 years.

Number of Jails & Occupancy ratio
There are a total 1412 Jails found across India that includes 137 central jails, 394 District Jails, 732 Sub Jails, 20 Women Jails, 20 Borstal Schools and 64 Open Jails, 42 Special Jails and 3 other jails. According to Prison Static Report 25th edition, released by National Crime Record Bureau, jails were occupied above the original capacity up to 115% to 118% for the last three years in the country.
Year No of Prisons No. of Capacity of the Prison Occupied in Actual Occupancy Rate %
2017 1361 391574 450696 115.1%
2018 1339 396223 466084 117.6%
2019 1350 403739 478600 118.5%
Only 80% of the Prisoners in the Jails are not convicted criminals and they are facing trails among 4.2% were women and they are facing various problems physical and mental tortures every day in the prisons due to improper Prison Management in the various states, where prison has been designed abruptly with punishment theory, where human is treated without any dignity as human but an animal and they are harassed, abused and treated with disrespect.

Identify the Problem in the Prison Management System
The Author Kasumi Saha in her article in the Social & Political Foundation of India has revealed that, Studies across the world have indicated that education during incarceration has long term benefits for entire societies. In fact, a report in the USA suggested that individuals who participated in any form of educational programmes in prison were 43% less likely to return to jail [1]��Unfortunately, it is difficult to come across related studies in India, simply because prison education itself is an overlooked issue in the country's justice system.
There are many human rights defenders, judicial experts in the country continue demanding the Government to pay attention to the Prison Education system for decades but the Legislative has not paid enough attention and continue to pay attention to the country's law & order, by overlooking the relationship between the prison reformation and justice system.

USA National Criminal Justice Reference Service Report
United States Department of Justice, National Criminal Justice Reference Service, Virtual Library NCJ Number 97924, Social Defense Volume 19, on their 73rd issue, on July 1983 in Pages 33-45 has reviewed the Prison Education in India as below:

A descriptive analysis of inmate education programs in India concludes that numerous difficulties are preventing the provision of adequate educational programming and that the current structure of prison education needs a complete revamping.

Numerous reports dating from the end of the 19th century have pointed to the need for educational programs in prisons. However, the basic penal philosophy is one of deterrence and retribution. Prisoner education remains largely neglected. The prison education program includes both general education and vocational education. However, the number of trained teachers is insufficient, and no supervisory staff is provided.

No modern program of vocational training exists. Prison libraries are inadequate. Barriers to improvement of educational programs include the negative attitudes of fellow inmates toward prisoners involved in educational programs and the lack of separate rooms for classes. Inadequate textbooks and fundings, poor pay for teachers, and administrators' attitudes are further problems. Recommended changes are revision of courses, instilling positive attitudes toward inmate education, separate school buildings and classrooms, adequate pay for staff, and control of inmate education by the State Board of Education. Further needs are proper supplying and staffing of libraries, improved vocational education, provision of television and radio facilities to inmates, and adequate funding.

National Human Rights Recommendation on National Seminar 2014

The National Human Rights Commission STRONGLY pointed out the Legislatives and Government Ministries on their National Seminar on Prison Reforms stated:
  1. Need for amendment of Prisons Act, 1894 in the light of related Supreme Court judgements and International Conventions/Covenants.
  2. Need for amendment of Prison Manual / Prison Rules in the light of related Supreme Court judgements and International Conventions / Covenants.
  3. Need for amendment of Prison Manual / Prison Rules in the light of related Supreme Court judgments and International Conventions / Covenants.

NHRC Advise to Prime Minister and Legislatives
The Prisons Act 1894, being very old, contains archaic provisions some of which are no longer relevant. Hence, it requires drastic changes. The NHRC shall constitute a Committee of Experts to suggest amendments to the Prisons Act 1894, to make it conform to human rights norms, Supreme Court judgements and International Conventions / Covenants binding on India.

The aforesaid advised has been given by the National Human Rights Commission to the Legislatives, after a careful assessment of Prison Management system India for almost few decades but Government of India lead by Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Damodaradas Modi has no time for enactment of new law and continue to ignore the Modern Prison Act, same the Former Prime minister Shri Man Mohan Singh and it is a curse to the Nation that None of the Prime Minister's take initiative to enact a needful law for the country.

NHRC Advise to Ministry of Human Affairs
There is need for uniformity in the Prison Manuals / Prison Rules followed in the States and Union Territories. The Government of India should take steps to suitably amend the Model Prison Manual which was drawn up in 2003, to ensure that it is in conformity with human rights norms, Supreme Court judgments and International Conventions / Covenants binding on India.

Continue Ignorance of the Legislatives in Prison Laws
Every one of the Politicians in this world during their political regime has confident that they will continue to be on powers ever but, none of politicians can rule forever and political changes often make things upside down, they could be possibility accused by the opposition party for corruption, misappropriation and other criminal charges.

The formers cabinet ministers in the union, chief ministers of the state has been accused for some cases and no one can evade the criminal proceeding for long, and have to face prison one day or next day. When these Politicians started to face the prison, a day, a week, a month an years, they might realize the impact of the century old Prison Act, but obviously they could do nothing at that point but to follow with the proceedings as stated in the criminal justice system and came across the hardship of common man in the prison.

It is painful that Prison Management is designed by British India Government and follows the guidelines of Punishment theory Prison Act 1984 and Indian legislatives have continuously ignored for 74 years without any changes. There are various recommendations given by the National Human Rights Commission to improve the prisoner's life with the principle of reformative theory with proper education and reformation.

Supreme Court LandMark Judgment
Hon'ble Supreme Court has continue deliberating the Union government for prison reformation and has advised the given various landmark judgments for prison management and among those, the judgment in Rama Murthy vs State of Karnataka in 1986, the three judge's bench advised the government for Open Air Prison with educational and vocational training and wages system for up growing population in the prisons.

In the para 46, of the Judgment, Hon'ble Judge quoted a review of open air prison advantage with an expert's advice.

Open air prisons play an important role in the scheme of reformation of a prisoner which has to be one of the desideratum of prison management. They represent one of the most successful applications of the principle of individualization of penalties with a view to social readjustment as stated by B. Chandra in the Preface to his book titled "Open Air Prisons".

It has been said so because release of offenders on probation, home leave to prisoners, introduction of wage system, release on parole, educational, moral and vocational training of prisoners are some of the features of the open air prison (camp) system. Chandra has stated in the concluding portion of Chapter 3 at page 150 (of 1984 edition) that in terms of finances, open institution is far less costly than a closed establishment http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 15 of 16 and the scheme has further advantage that the Government is able to employ in work, for the benefit of the public at large, the jail population which would have otherwise remained unproductive. According to the author, the monetary returns are positive, and once put into operation, the camps pay for itself.

Author further support with Mulla Committee
This article takes some initiates to let the legislatives in the country that the need of Prison Reformation Act whereas the prison management system has been redesigned with the basic rights of prisoner and the dignity of prisoners as human should removed from them even on death penalty and promotes the reformative policies, where each prisoner can have chance to get education, a option for vocational training and recommendation for new prison reformation act to the Union Government before the legislatives feel it's too late of experience it.

If the Union Ministers today ignore to pay attention to Prison reformation with the new reformation act today, the states in the government would have no other option to enact their own rules in their state, where Union may not able to adopt for various rules of the state, pretty sure those may cause impact on the administration. Mulla Committee in Jail Reforms on their second volume release reported about the various differentiations found in the jails across the country, which was shocking proofs that there were no uniform procedures followed in the any State Jails and there were no guarantee for uniform enforcement of Criminal Justice System in anywhere of the country.

Which are the agencies on advisory for enactment of such new law
This author has strongly recommending the Government to consider a immediate enactment of Reformation Act with an advice of all government agencies, thus make the Criminal Justice System effective & uniform in the country and therefore the reformative policies can be under one umbrella in the Country, where National Human Right Commission, National Law Commission, University Grant Commission and Education & Home Ministry would take part on the jail reformation and states also enact their state laws but, ensuring no controversy laws to the Union Law.

Enact a Law by allowing the following agencies in the Prison Reformation:
  • Role of NHRC- To be supreme Monitoring Authority in Central Prisons & Special Jails etc
  • Role of SHRC- To be supreme Monitoring Authority in District Prisons, Sub Jails etc
  • Role of University Grant Commission & Union Ministry of Education & Home Affairs- To subsequently verify & allow the Authorized National Universities for Education, Vocational Training
  • Role of University Grant Commission & State Ministry of Education & Home Affairs- To subsequently verify & allow the Authorized State Universities for Education, Vocational Training
The Government of India has to take initiative like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan which aimed compulsory education to children by 86th Amendment in Constitution Right to Education, where those kind of reformation should be taken for Prison education and Vocational Training, where those proper rehabilitation programmes will improve the life of prisoners and obviously reduce the repeated offenders crimes in the country.

Hence, It is Union Government headed by Prime Minister's has to listen the advises given by National Human Rights Commission and Supreme Court of India and duty for enacting Prison Reformation Act 202? at the earliest by replacing the 1984 act, Otherwise Model Prison Manual 2003 prepared by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Ministry of Home Affairs would not be feasible to imply in all states of the country.

Advocated by,Social Worker & Human Rights Pledge Ravikumar Vellingiri. B.A.LL.B (Hons)

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