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Comparative Study Of The Treatment Of Privileged Class Prisoners And The Other Prisoners In India

Unacceptable behavior is deviance. Deviance is the violation of cultural norms which are set by a certain society. These norms are guidelines that guide basically all human activities, so the concept of deviance is quite broad. Deviance is an absence of conformity to these norms. "The fact or state of diverging from usual or accepted standards, especially in social behavior" is called Deviance. When such behaviors are done by the privileged class of the society, then this is called Privileged Class Deviance.

When a particular class of people such as Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Teachers, etc., enjoying the special privileges becomes deviant in the society, they result in Privileged Class Deviance. They usually misuse their power and position for their own benefit and cause damage and injury to the victim. There are many types of deviance like Official deviance or Governmental deviance, Professional deviance, Trade Union deviance, Landlord deviance, Police deviance, Deviance in Electoral Process, Deviance due to gender-based aggression, etc.,

When a person of respectability and high social status in course of the occupation, commits an act which is approximately a crime, it is called as White Collar Crimes. White-collar crimes and White-collar criminals cause great harm to society.

In this article, I would like to discuss the special treatment of Privileged Class Prisoners in India. Also, I would like to throw light on the rights and privileges of the prisoners in India. The comparison between the privileged class prisoners and the other prisoners is also done in this article.

The privileged class prisoners are otherwise called VIP (Very Important Person) Prisoners. When the rich and the powerful get on the wrong side of the law, it's the law that suffers the most. VIP offenders and convicts are often treated by law enforcers as VIPs and not as offenders or convicts. This study is conducted to eradicate the differences between the treatment of privileged class prisoners and the other prisoners in India.

The word "Prisoner" means any person who is kept under custody in jail or prison because he/she committed an act prohibited by the law of the land. Prisons, and their administration, are a state subject covered by item 4 under the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The management and administration of prisons fall exclusively in the domain of the State governments and are governed by the Prisons Act, 1894, and the Prison manuals of the respective state governments.

Thus, the states have the primary role, responsibility, and authority to change the current prison laws, rules, and regulations. The Central Government provides assistance to the states to improve security in prisons, for the repair and renovation of old prisons, medical facilities, development of borstal schools, facilities to women offenders, vocational training, modernization of prison industries, training to prison personnel, and for the creation of high-security enclosures.

The Supreme Court of India, in its judgments on various aspects of prison administration, has laid down 3 broad principles regarding imprisonment and custody. First, a person in prison does not become a non-person. Second, a person in prison is entitled to all human rights within the limitations of imprisonment. Third, there is no justification for aggravating the suffering already inherent in the process of incarceration. Prison establishments in India exist at three levels-the taluka level, district level, and central (sometimes called zonal/range) level.

The jails in these levels are called Sub Jails, District Jails, and Central Jails respectively. In general, the infrastructure, security, and prisoner facilities such as medical, educational, and rehabilitation are progressively better from Sub jail to Central Jail. The other types of jail establishments are Women Jails, Borstal schools, Open jails, and Special Jails. Prison conditions in India are bad and unhealthy as they are "frequently life-threatening" and do not meet international standards.

Research Methodology:
The research methodology used in this paper is doctrinal legal research which involves the prevailing state of legal doctrines, legal rules, and legal principles. The source of data is from the secondary source of data like websites, articles, and books related to the rights and privileges of prisoners and the treatment of privileged class prisoners in India. The theories of legal interpretation and legal reasoning are also used here. This type of research is otherwise called "Data Research" and it is also considered to be pure research.

The special treatment given to the privileged class prisoners should be eradicated to provide equality before law subject to the treatment given to the other prisoners also in India.

Literature Review:
India Code (Digital Repository of All Central and State Acts), clearly explains the twelve chapters of The Prisons Act, 1894 in which maintenance and officers of prisons, Duties of officers in prison, Admission, Removal, and Discharge of Prisoners, Discipline of Prisoners, Food, clothing, and bedding of Civil and unconvicted criminal prisoners, Employment of prisoners, Health of prisoners, Visits to prisoners, Offences in relation to prisoners and Prison Offences.

Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners adopted by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977.

Handbook of Human Rights and Criminal Justice in India - second edition - SAHRDC (South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre) clearly explains the treatment of prisoners and the Human Rights of the prisoners.

India News website highlighted the topic named "India's VIP prisoners: Jailed Politicians, businessmen, and godmen get special treatment; have TVs, ordered food at disposal.


Section 3 of The Prisons Act, 1894 (Chapter I):

  1. "Prison" means any jail or place used permanently or temporarily under the general or special orders of a State Government for the detention of prisoners, and includes all lands and buildings appurtenant thereto, but does not include:
    1. any place for the confinement of prisoners who are exclusively in the custody of the police;
    2. any place specially appointed by the State Government under section 541 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882; or
    3. any place which has been declared by the State Government, by general or special order, to be a subsidiary jail
  2. "Criminal prisoner" means any prisoner duly committed to custody under the writ, warrant, or order of any Court or authority exercising criminal jurisdiction, or by order of a Court-martial
  3. "convicted criminal prisoner" means any criminal prisoner under sentence of a Court or Court-martial, and includes a person detained in prison under the provisions of Chapter VIII of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1882, (10 of 1882) or under the Prisoners Act, 1871 (5 of 1871)
  4. "Civil prisoner" means any prisoner who is not a criminal prisoner
  5. "remission system" means the rules for the time being in force regulating the award of marks to, and the consequent shortening of sentences of, prisoners in jails.
  6. "history-ticket" means the ticket exhibiting such information as is required in respect of each prisoner by this Act or the rules thereunder
  7. "Inspector General" means the Inspector General of Prisons
  8. "Medical subordinate" means an Assistant Surgeon, Apothecary, or qualified hospital Assistant and
  9. "Prohibited article" means an article the introduction or removal of which into or out of a prison is prohibited by any rule under this Act.

Maintenance And Officers Of Prisons: (Chapter II)

Sec 4 - Accommodation for prisoners:
The State Government shall provide, for the prisoners in the territories under such Government, accommodation in prisons constructed and regulated in such manner as to comply with the requisitions of this Act in respect of the separation of prisoners.

Sec 5 - Inspector General:
An Inspector General shall be appointed for the territories subject to each State Government and shall exercise, subject to the orders of the State Government the general control and superintendence of all prisons situated in the territories under such Government.

Sec 6 - Officers of prisons.
For every prison, there shall be a superintendent, a Medical Officer (who may also be the Superintendent), a Medical Subordinate, a Jailer and such other officers as the State Government thinks necessary: Provided that [the State Government of Bombay] may declare by order in writing that in any prison specified in the order the office of Jailer shall be held by the person appointed to be Superintendent.

Sec 7 - Temporary accommodation for prisoners
Whenever it appears to the Inspector General that the number of prisoners in any prison is greater than can conveniently or safely be kept therein, and it is not convenient to transfer the excess number to some other prison, or whenever from the outbreak of epidemic disease within any prison, or for any other reason, it is desirable to provide for the temporary shelter and safe custody of any prisoners, the provision shall be made, by such officer and in such manner as the State Government may direct, for the shelter and safe custody in temporary prisons of so many of the prisoners as cannot be conveniently or safely kept in the prison.

Duties Of Officers (Chapter III):

Sec 15 - Report on death of a prisoner.-
On the death of any prisoner, the Medical Officer shall forthwith record in a register the following particulars, so far as they can be ascertained, namely:
  1. the day on which the deceased first complained of illness or was observed to be ill,
  2. the labor, if any, on which he was engaged on that day,
  3. the scale of his diet on that day,
  4. the day on which he was admitted to hospital,
  5. the day on which the Medical Officer was first informed of the illness,
  6. the nature of the disease,
  7. when the deceased was last seen before his death by the Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate.
  8. when the prisoner died, and
  9. (In cases where a post-mortem examination is made) an account of the appearances after death, together with any special remarks that appear to the Medical Officer to be required.

Admission, Removal, And Discharge Of Prisoners (Chapter Iv):

Sec - 24. Prisoners to be examined on admission:
  1. Whenever a prisoner is admitted into prison, he shall be searched, and all weapons and prohibited articles shall be taken from him.
  2. Every criminal prisoner shall also, as soon as possible after admission, be examined under the general or special orders of the Medical Officer, who shall enter or cause to be entered in a book, to be kept by the Jailer, a record of the state of the prisoner's health, and of any wounds or marks on his person, the class of labor he is fit for if sentenced to rigorous imprisonment, and any observations which the Medical Officer thinks fit to add.
  3. In the case of female prisoners the search and examination shall be carried out by the matron under the general or special orders of the Medical Officer.

Sec 25 - Effects of prisoners:
All money or other articles in respect whereof no order of a competent Court has been made, and which may with proper authority be brought into the prison by any criminal prisoner or sent to the prison for his use, shall be placed in the custody of the Jailer.

Sec 26 - Removal and discharge of prisoners:
  1. All prisoners, previously to being removed to any other prison, shall be examined by the Medical Officer.
  2. No prisoner shall be removed from one prison to another unless the Medical Officer certifies that the prisoner is free from any illness rendering him unfit for removal.
  3. No prisoner shall be discharged against his will from prison, if laboring under any acute or dangerous distemper, nor until, in the opinion of the Medical Officer, such discharge is safe.

Discipline Of Prisoners (Chapter V):

Sec 27 - Separation of prisoners
The requisitions of this Act with respect to the separation of prisoners are as follows:
  1. In a prison containing female as well as male prisoners, the females shall be imprisoned in separate buildings, or separate parts of the same building, in such manner as to prevent their seeing, or conversing or holding any intercourse with, the male prisoners;
  2. In a prison where male prisoners under the age of [twenty-one] are confined, means shall be provided for separating them altogether from the other prisoners and for separating those of them who have arrived at the age of puberty from those who have not;
  3. Unconvicted criminal prisoners shall be kept apart from convicted criminal prisoners; and
  4. Civil prisoners shall be kept apart from criminal prisoners.

Sec - 30. Prisoners under sentence of death
  1. Every prisoner under sentence of death shall, immediately on his arrival in the prison after sentence, be searched by, or by order of, the Jailer, and all articles shall be taken from him which the Jailer deems it dangerous or inexpedient to leave in his possession.
  2. Every such prisoner shall be confined in a cell apart from all other prisoners and shall be placed by day and by night under the charge of a guard.

Health Of Prisoners (Chapter VIII):

Sec - 37. Sick prisoners
  1. The names of prisoners desiring to see the Medical Subordinate or appearing out of health in mind or body shall, without delay, be reported by the officer in immediate charge of such prisoners to the Jailer.
  2. The Jailer shall, without delay, call the attention of the Medical Subordinate to any prisoners desiring to see him, or who is ill, or whose state of mind or body appears to require attention, and shall carry into effect all written directions given by the Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate respecting alterations of the discipline or treatment of any such prisoner.

Sec - 39. Hospital.
In every prison, a hospital or proper place for the reception of sick prisoners shall be provided.

Offences In Relation To Prisons (Chapter X):

Sec 42 - Penalty for introduction or removal of prohibited articles into or from prison and communication with prisoners:

Whoever, contrary to any rule under section [59] introduces or removes, or attempts by any means whatever to introduce or remove, into or from any prison, or supplies or attempts to supply to any prisoner outside the limits of prison, any prohibited article,

and every officer of prison who, contrary to any such rule, knowingly suffers any such article to be introduced into or removed from any prison, to be possessed by any prisoner, or to be supplied to any prisoner outside the limits of a prison,

and whoever, contrary to any such rules, communicates or attempts to communicate with any prisoner,

and whoever abets any offense made punishable by this section,

shall, on conviction before a Magistrate, be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to fine not exceeding two hundred rupees, or to both

International Conventions (Rights Of Prisoners):

International Human Rights Law:
International human rights laws protect people from racial discrimination, torture, and enforced disappearances. They also recognize the rights of specific groups of people, including women, children, people with disability, indigenous peoples, and migrant workers. Some of these treaties are complemented by optional protocols that deal with specific issues or allow people to make complaints.

UN Charter:
The charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations conference on international organization, and came into force on October 24, 1945. Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners [2] was adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990.

The principles are as follows:
Prisoners shall be treated with inherent dignity and valued as human beings. No discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, color, language, religion, political, national, social origin, property, birth, or another status. Respect the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which the prisoners belong to the responsibility of the prisons for the custody of the prisoners and for the protection of the society against crime and its fundamental responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of the society.

Abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken or encouraged.

Prisoners undertake meaningful remunerated employment which will facilitate their reintegration into the country's labor market and permit them to contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.

Access to health services without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.

With the participation and help of the community and social institutions and with regard to the interest of victims, favorable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society.

The above principles shall be applied impartially.

International Bill Of Rights:

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: (UDHR)
In 1948 a movement was started in the United Nations in the form of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted in the General Assembly of the United Nations. This organic document is also called as Human Rights Declaration. This important document provides some basic principles of the administration of justice. Among the provisions in the document are follows:
  • No one should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.
  • No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention, or exile.
  • Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to the law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.

The International Covenants On Civil And Political Rights, 1966: (ICCPR)
The ICCPR remains the core instrumental treaty on the protection of the rights of the prisoners. Following relevant provisions of the covenants areas:
  • No one shall be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishments.
  • Everyone has the right to liberty and the security of a person. No one shall be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention.
  • All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
  • No one shall be imprisoned merely on the ground of inability to fulfill a contractual obligation.

UN Core Conventions And Specific Instruments:
Standard Minimum Rules for The Treatment of Prisoners:

Amnesty International in 1955 formulated certain standard rules for the treatment of prisoners. Some important relevant rules are as follow:
The principle of equality should prevail; there shall be no discrimination on grounds of race, sex, color, religion. Political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status among prisoners.

Men and women shall so far as possible be detained in the separate institutions;

Complete separation between civil prisoners and persons imprisoned by reason of criminal offense; young prisoners should be kept separate from the adult prisoners.

All sorts of cruel inhuman degrading punishments shall be completely prohibited.

Availability of at least one qualified Medical officer with the knowledge of psychiatry.

Convention Against, Torture, And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment:
  • The state party has to take effective legislative, judicial, and other measures to prevent acts of torture.
  • No state party shall expel, return or extradite a person who is in danger of being subjected to torture.
  • The State party should ensure that all acts of torture are offenses under its criminal law.

Indian Law (Rights Of Prisoners):

  1. Constitution:
    The rights guaranteed in part III of the Indian Constitution are available to prisoners; because a prisoner is treated as a person in prison. Article 14 contemplated that like should be treated alike, and also provided the concept of reasonable classification. This article provides the basis for prison authorities to determine various categories of prisoners and their classification with the object of reformation.

    Indian constitution guarantees six freedoms to citizens of India, among which certain freedom cannot be enjoyed by the prisoners. They are freedom of movement, freedom to the residence and to settle, and freedom of profession. But other freedoms conferred in this article are enjoyed by the prisoners. Moreover, the constitution provides various other provisions that cannot directly be called prisoner's rights but may be relevant. Among them are Article 20(1), (2), and Article 21 and Article 22(4-7)
  2. Enactments And Rules:
    1. The Prisons Act, 1894:
      This act is the first legislation regarding prison regulation in India. The following are some of the important provisions regarding prisoner's rights: Accommodation and sanitary conditions for prisoners. Provisions relating to the mental and physical state of prisoners. Examination of prisoners by a qualified medical officer. Separation of prisoners for male, female, criminal, civil, convicted, and under trial prisoners. Provisions for treatment of undertrials, civil prisoners, parole, and temporary release of prisoners.
    2. The Prisoners Act, 1990:
      It is the duty of the government for the removal of any prisoner detained under any order or sentence of any court, which is of unsound mind to a lunatic asylum and another place where he will be given proper treatment. Any court which is a high court may in the case in which it has recommended to the government the granting of a free pardon to any prisoner, permit him to be at liberty on his own cognizance.
    3. The Transfer of Prisoners Act, 1950:
      This act was enacted for the transfer of prisoners from one state to another for rehabilitation or vocational training and from over-populated jails to less congested jails within the state.
    4. The Prisoners (Attendance in Courts) Act, 1955:
      This Act contains provisions authorizing the removal of prisoners to a civil or criminal court for giving evidence or for answering the charge of an offense.

Basic Principles For The Treatment Of Prisoners:

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 45/111 of 14 December 1990
  1. All prisoners shall be treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
  2. There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status.
  3. It is, however, desirable to respect the religious beliefs and cultural precepts of the group to which prisoners belong, whenever local conditions so require.
  4. The responsibility of prisons for the custody of prisoners and for the protection of society against crime shall be discharged in keeping with a State's other social objectives and its fundamental responsibilities for promoting the well-being and development of all members of society.
  5. Except for those limitations that are demonstrably necessitated by the fact of incarceration, all prisoners shall retain the human rights and fundamental freedoms set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and, where the State concerned is a party, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional Protocol thereto, as well as such other rights as are set out in other United Nations covenants.
  6. All prisoners shall have the right to take part in cultural activities and education aimed at the full development of the human personality.
  7. Efforts addressed to the abolition of solitary confinement as a punishment, or to the restriction of its use, should be undertaken and encouraged.
  8. Conditions shall be created enabling prisoners to undertake meaningful remunerated employment which will facilitate their reintegration into the country's labor market and permit them to contribute to their own financial support and to that of their families.
  9. Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
  10. With the participation and help of the community and social institutions, and with due regard to the interests of victims, favorable conditions shall be created for the reintegration of the ex-prisoner into society under the best possible conditions.
  11. The above Principles shall be applied impartially.

Role Of Judiciary In Protecting The Rights Of Prisoners:

As emphasized earlier, the conviction of a human does not render him non-human. He still remains a human who should be treated like one. He should be given the basic human rights available to every man walking on the earth. But at the same time, he should not be treated as a free man with all absolute rights and luxuries. His freedom should be subject to certain limitations and legal restrictions. These restrictions, in addition, should be reasonable.

Sunil Batra vs Delhi Administration
It has been emphatically stated that it must be realized that a prisoner is a human being as well as a natural person or a legal person. If a person gets convicted for a crime, it does not reduce him to the status of a non-person whose rights could be snatched away at the whims of the prison administration. Therefore, imposing any major punishment within the system of prison is conditional upon the absence of procedural safeguards.

The Supreme Court of India has been deliberating with the central and state governments for a long time to improve the deteriorating condition of the prisoners which is fundamental because of the overcrowding of prisons, lack of training facilities, personnel, poor infrastructure, etc. Therefore, it is mandatory to invoke the rights and constitutional safeguards of the prisoners. Such rights, unless they are propagated and implemented in each corner and the entire perimeter of the prism, are a nullity and betrayal of human faith in the criminal justice delivery system.

Fundamental Rights:
Fundamental rights form the core of human rights in India. They are the basic rights of the citizens which cannot be taken away under any circumstances. The law of the country also guarantees some of these rights to the prisoners too like Articles 14, 19, 21. However, it cannot impose the fundamental rights in its full panoply to the advantage of the prisoners. Giving prisoners the Right to Fair procedure forms the soul of Article 21. Levying reasonableness in any restriction is the essence of Article 19(5) and sweeping discretion degenerating into arbitrary discrimination is anathema for Article 14.

State of Maharashtra vs Prabhakar Pandurang Sanzio
The Supreme Court stated that the mere fact that someone is detained cannot deprive one of his fundamental rights and that such conditions are not to be extended to the extent of the deprivation of fundamental rights of the detained individual. The Court further ruled that every prisoner retains all such rights that are enjoyed by free citizens except the one that is lost necessarily as an incident of confinement.

Right to Privacy:
In India, however, this right is perhaps the most violated. The right to privacy in respect to search and seizure was first raised in the 1950s, where the apex court ruled that search and seizure cannot be seen as violative of Article 19(1)(f) of the Indian constitution and a mere search by itself does not nullify or harm an individual's right to property. Even if search or seizure affected such right then its effect is temporary and is to be construed as a reasonable restriction on the rights of individuals.

Rahmath Nisha vs Additional Director General of Prisoners and Others
The accused was given 10 days' leave to visit his wife. But, due to serious illness, his wife was transferred to the hospital in ICU by the time he reached home. However, the police escort that accompanied the accused refused to let him visit the hospital citing that permission has been granted to visit home only. The Madras Court held that the prisoner should be allowed to visit his wife in hospital and that the meeting between him and his wife should not be monitored.

The court stated that when a prisoner is united with his wife, he might like to hold her in the hands of his partner. It's natural that his emotions would find physical expression. Therefore, the right to privacy and dignity of the prisoners should be scrupulously safeguarded. It is also important that the conversation between the prisoner and his partner or spouse should go unmonitored.

Right to live with human dignity:
The right of a human being to live with dignity is protected by the constitution. This right is also given to the prisoners as their mere conviction does not render them inhuman. This right forms a significant part of the right to life guaranteed under the constitution of India. The idea behind this is that every person's life is precious and irrespective of the circumstances, he should be given a sense of dignity to help him continue living. The courts have enlarged the scope of Article 21 to include this right.

Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India
The apex court propounded a new dimension of Article 21 wherein it stated that the "right to life or live" does not confine itself to mere physical existence but also includes the right to live with human dignity.

Right to health and medical treatment:
The right to health is an important right. The Constitution of India incorporates provisions guaranteeing every individual the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. In a series of judgments, the highest court of the land has held that the right to health care is a crucial element of Article 21. Article 21 of the Constitution imposes an obligation on the State to safeguard an individual's life.

Parmanand Katara vs Union of India
The court held that a doctor working at a Government hospital is bound by duty to extend any type of medical assistance for preserving life. In fact, every doctor has a professional obligation of extending his services to the patients (be it anyone) with due diligence and expertise in order to protect his life. Therefore, any legal body cannot intervene to cause a delay in the discharge of obligations and duties cast upon the members of the medical profession.

Right to a speedy trial:
It is very well said that justice delayed is justice denied. Every prisoner has a right to a speedy trial irrespective of the crime he is convicted of. Speedy trial is considered an integral part of the criminal justice delivery system. Once a person is accused, he must be subject to speedy trials so as to punish him for the crime he committed or absolve him from it, if not proven guilty.

No one should be subject to long, pending, and tiresome trials as it not only violates the rights of an individual but is considered to be the denial of justice altogether. The right to a speedy trial, therefore, has become a universally recognized human right. Moreover, the right to a speedy trial is also contained under Section 309 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. If this provision of the CrPC is followed and implemented in its true spirit, all the grievances and queries of prisoners could be resolved.

AR Antulay vs RS Nayak
The Supreme Court laid down comprehensive guidelines for accused convicted in a criminal case, however, it did not prescribe a fixed time period for the trial of offenses. The court said that the right to speedy trial flows from Article 21 and it includes in its ambit all the stages of investigation like inquiry, trial, appeal, revision, and re-trial. The court further stated that an accused cannot be denied his right to speedy trial merely on the ground that he did not demand the same.

It also reiterated that the time limit of a trial needs to be decided by keeping certain circumstances in mind such as the nature of the offense, number of accused, number of witnesses, the amount of workload on the court, etc. The court finally comes to the conclusion in the interest of natural justice that when the right to speedy trial of a convict has been violated the charges of the conviction shall be quashed.

Right to legal aid:
Legal assistance plays a significant part in the life of an accused awaiting trial or any prisoner or convicts, for that matter. The 42nd amendment to the constitution (1976)of India incorporated services of free legal aid as Article 39A under the head Directive Principles of State Policy. Though this article is part of the directive principles of state policy and hence, not enforceable, the principles underlined therein are of utmost importance. It is incumbent upon the State to keep this article in mind while framing rules and regulations for prisoners, criminals, or convicts.

Madhav Hayawadhanrao Hoskot vs the State of Maharashtra
The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India read Articles 21 and Articles 39-A along with Article 142 and Section 304 of CrPC together emphasized that the government of the country is under a duty to aid and provide legal services to the convicted or accused individual. Justice Krishna Iyer emphatically declared that the "Right to free legal aid is the State's duty and not Government's charity".

Right to Education:
The right to education is a Fundamental Right and therefore it should be given to every citizen of the country. Along with education, it is compulsory that the right type of education should be imparted.

Mohammed Giasuddin vs the State of AP
The court tried to regulate the manner of work and education provided to the inmates of the jail. It directed the state government to look into the nature of work and education given to the prisoners and check that the work provided is "not of a monotonous, mechanical, intellectual or like type mixed with a title manual labor´┐Ż".

The court further stated the facilities of liaison through correspondence courses must also be given to the prisoners who are interested in doing higher or advanced studies. Moreover, basic learning such as tailoring, embroidery, doll-making should be extended to the women prisoners. In addition to that, well-educated prisoners should be given the opportunities to engage in some sort of mental-cum-manual productive work.

Right to publication:
The Supreme court held in a case wherein the prisoner was not allowed to read a scientific book that there was nothing in the Bombay Detention Order, 1951 that prohibits a prisoner from writing or publishing a book. It stated that the book prisoner wanted to read was merely a work of science, ("Inside the Atom") and it could not be regarded as detrimental to public interest or safety as provided under the Defence of India Rules, 1962.

Rajgopal vs State of Tamil Nadu
The Supreme Court held that there was no authority in law that could priorly deny the permission to publish the autobiography of Auto Shankar (prisoner) under the fear or impression that it would cause deformation of prominent IAS and IPS officers. The concerned officials can take action after the publication and only if the publications are false.

Special Treatment Given To The Privileged Class Prisoners In India:

Gurmeet Ram Rahim
After being convicted of rape, the Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim was lodged in an air-conditioned room in the prison near Rohtak town, police sources said. They further added that the disgraced baba continued to receive special treatment from Haryana's Manohar Lal Khattar government, who arranged for a helicopter and helped Rahim in availing amenities meant for police officials. Rahim's daughter, Honeypreet, being a woman was allowed to accompany him with suitcases and bags after he was taken into custody in Panchkula. Even after being convicted, he was shown full respect by a section of officers.

Sasikala Natarajan
Sasikala was provided with a special kitchen within the jail premises along with several other amenities. According to an RTI query seeking details of the report compiled by an inquiry committee that looked into allegations of special treatment (made by then DIG (Prisons) D Roopa in July 2017), Sasikala, who is serving imprisonment in a disproportionate assets case, was given preferential treatment and a separate kitchen functioned for her at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail in Bengaluru. Sasikala was convicted to four years in jail in 2017.

The 295-page report filed by retired IAS officer Vinay Kumar confirmed Roopa's claims about the ousted AIADMK leader being given special treatment in the jail. The reply was furnished by MR Shobha, Public Relations Officer of the Home Department. In her report submitted on 12 July to DGP (Prisons) HN Sathyanarayana Rao, Roopa had said there was "a talk" that Rs 2 crore had exchanged hands to give preferential treatment to Sasikala.

The allegations were against Rao as well, but he had rejected them. The report said that Sasikala was allowed to wear personal clothing and cook food for herself. A pressure cooker and spices were found in her prison cell to corroborate this claim. It also said that there was a separate visitors' room for her and the corridor in the jail was barricaded for her. Sasikala was provided five cells, despite no threat to her life as per intelligence reports, the report said.

The inquiry committee report said Sasikala enjoyed free movement within the prison which was corroborated by video clips. One of the videos showed Sasikala and co-convict Elavarasi going out of the female barrack with a bag in hand, it said. The videos were submitted to the commission by Roopa along with other CCTV footage from inside the prison. The report also found that, as per the CCTV footage, Sasikala met with a person in a white shirt and white pants for over four hours on 11 June 2017, while the maximum time that a prisoner can spend with a visitor is only 45 minutes.

Apparently, the records in the prison register were fudged to allow Sasikala to meet visitors for a longer duration. Serious lapses and "falsification of records" on the part of senior prison officials in extending this treatment have been revealed. According to the report, while Sasikala was entitled to only one room, she was given five for private use after vacating the prisoners who lived in them.

There was no professional evaluation of the threat perception to justify the claim that five cells and other facilities were provided on the grounds of security. She was also allocated a first-floor room, especially for visitors, the report said.

Subrata Roy
Sahara India Parivar chief Subrata Roy, who was imprisoned in Delhi's Tihar Jail in March 2014 for failing to refund Rs 20,000 crore to depositors and banks, paid Rs 31 lakh (later the amount was reported to be Rs 1.23 crore for a year) for special privileges for 57 days. These included an air-conditioned room, western-style toilet, mobile phone, Wi-Fi, and video conferencing facilities.

The bill to Roy's company towards his stay came up to be about Rs 54,400 a day, as per a Business Standard report. Roy was also given security personnel. According to journalist Sunetra Choudhury who writes in her book Behind Bars: Prison Tales of India's Most Famous, Roy enjoyed benefits that had "never been seen by anybody in prison before".

Subrata Roy is the first person in the history of Tihar Jail to have comforts of airconditioning, Choudhary notes in her book. "...Because the court allowed Roy to use the video conference facilities (to hold meetings for raising capital to pay off the debt), it (his cell) had a meeting and conference rooms. "Even Indira Gandhi didn't have this comfort when she came to stay here," Choudhary claims in the book.

Amar Singh
Former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh - who was sent to the Tihar Jail for his alleged role in the cash-for-vote scam - reportedly, cited a chronic kidney problem and urinary tract infection to avoid the usual nature of a jail stay. Hence, instead of sharing space with other inmates in the barracks, Singh got a separate ward. According to several media reports, he was allowed home-cooked meals, mineral water, and an attached western-style toilet. Two cellmates were also reportedly kept at his disposal for cleaning his ward four to five times a day with disinfectant and spraying insecticide inside it to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Lalu Prasad Yadav
Former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav had access to many comforts when he spent three months at the Birsa Munda Central Jail in 2013 in connection with the multi-crore fodder scam. Unlike other inmates, Lalu was provided with a TV set in his prison room and even had two personal cooks, who served him the food of his choice. Lalu's jail menu included rice, fresh vegetables, mutton/chicken or fish, ghee, and seasonal fruits with the option of getting food from outside.

He also enjoyed longer visiting hours in comparison with regular inmates, an upper-division cell, and extra time to stroll within the premises after other prisoners had returned to their cells. Many politicians and bureaucrats often cite health reasons to escape the rigors of prison life and Lalu was among those who took advantage of the same.

Bibi Jagir Kaur
Bibi Jagir Kaur, a former Shiromani Akali Dal minister, was convicted of kidnapping and killing her own daughter. The charges were, however, later dropped by the court. But during her time in Kapurthala Central Jail, Kaur was given special treatment. She had a 32-inch television in her cell and it was believed that officials ran to touch her feet as soon as she arrived in the prison. She even had free access to a mobile phone.

Manu Sharma
Convicted of Jessica Lal's murder, Manu Sharma was a resident of Tihar Jail. In 2009, he made a request for parole to visit his ailing mother. However, Sharma was spotted partying not long after he was out of jail. While attending a discotheque in Delhi, he found himself in the middle of a brawl with a Delhi cop's son who corroborated Sharma's presence in the bar. His parole was cut short and he was back to prison.

Vikas Yadav
Vikas Yadav was convicted of Nitish Katara's murder alongside his brother Vishal Yadav. During the first two years of his incarceration, he was out on bail 66 times and often got involved in criminal brawls, including Jessica Lal's murder case. He spent most of his prison time in hospitals citing health issues even when he had none. He even managed to step out on a Diwali night with the help of two policemen who were later suspended.

Prisoners do not cease to be human beings when put behind bars. The Supreme Court and many other courts of India have reiterated this position in several cases so that prisoners do not become a victim themselves. And are provided with a proper rehabilitative environment to help them improve and become better beings.

It is incumbent upon the Central and State governments to not only provide the prisoners with humane conditions for a living but also educate them about their rights so that it is not abused by the powerful inside the prison. It could be said that the judiciary of the country has played a crucial role in safeguarding the rights of prisoners whenever the legislative and executive have erred. It has acted as the savior of the convicts and upheld their fundamental rights time and time again.

It has thoroughly exercised its powers through judicial activism and has repeatedly devised new remedies and tools to protect the human's right to life and personal liberty. However, much still needs to be done. In this regard, the wide circulation of human rights available to prisoners, vast publicity of prisoners' rights in media, and corner to corner surveillance in prisons could be some of the keys for upholding the rights of prisoners and ensuring their safe space in the prison.

When compared to the privileged class prisoners and the other prisoners, the privileged class prisoners do not suffer a lot like the other prisoners. The privileged class prisoners who are otherwise called white-collar criminals (upper strata of the society) are given special treatment in the prisons in India. This is considered unconstitutional because special treatment like providing air conditioners, healthy meals, providing TVs which violates Article 14 of the Constitution of India provides for equality before the law or equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.

This type of discrimination done to the other prisoners when compared to the privileged class prisoners should be eradicated in our country. Proper education, proper diet, healthcare, proper sanitation, and water supply, proper clothing and bedding facilities, library, grievance redressal should be provided to all the prisoners in our country without any discrimination and differences keeping in mind about the privileged class people committing the white-collar crimes also are the criminals alike the other prisoners. Equality should be given to all the prisoners in our country which will reduce the crime rate also in return obviously.

  1. All the prisoners should be treated equally with due respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings.
  2. There shall be no discrimination on the grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or another opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or another status.
  3. Prisoners shall have access to the health services available in the country without discrimination on the grounds of their legal situation.
  4. Harsh punishment should be given to white-collar criminals to curb white-collar crimes like hoarding, black marketing, tax evasion, adulteration in our country.
  5. Creating public awareness against white-collar crimes through the media of press, platform, and other audio-visual aids.
  6. Strengthening the law enforcement agencies like CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation), CID(Crime Investigation Department) would eradicate the problems of white-collar crimes and the partiality put forth in the society should also be changed.
  7. Special tribunals similar to fast track courts should be constituted with the power to award sentences of imprisonment up to ten years even life imprisonment for white-collar crimes should be executed and the privileged class prisoners should also be treated as the other prisoners, there should not be any differences.
  8. More stringent regularity laws & punishment for white-collar crimes for effective implementation with a clear message of deterrence should be implemented in our country so that the privileged class people should not enjoy the privileges always.
  9. IPC (Indian Penal Code) should have separate chapters on white-collar crimes so that white-collar crimes are connected by the court do not escape punishment because of high social status.
  10. Public vigilance will always be required to have a positive change in the long run and the crime rate should be decreased rather than looking at differences between high-class crimes and lower-class crimes.
  1. Rights of Prisoners.pdf; visited on 1.1.2022
  2., visited on 1.1.2022
  3. PRISONS ACT 1894.pdf by Government Of India (Ministry Of Law); The Prisons Act,1894(ACT IX OF 1894)as modified up to the 1st January 1957
  4. visited on 2.1.2022
  5.>Basic Principles for the Treatment of Prisoners; visited on 2.1.2022
  6.; visited on 2.1.2022
  7. 1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557
  8. 1986 (1) BomCR 272
  9. Madras High Court 01 Jun 2019
  10. 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR(2)621
  11. 1989 AIR 2039, 1989 SCR (3) 997
  12. 1988 AIR 1531, 1988 SCR Supl. (1) 1
  13. AIR 1978 SCC 1548, (1978) 3 SCC 544
  14. Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and Order dated the 25-10-1976 of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in Crl. R., Case No. 660 of 1970 and Crl. R.P. No. 646 of 1976.
  15. 1995 AIR 264, 1994 SCC (6) 632
  16.>10 privileged Indians who got special treatment in prison after being convicted of crimes; visited on 2.1.2022
  17.'s VIP prisoners: Jailed politicians, businessmen, and godmen get special treatment; have TVs, ordered food at disposal; visited on 2.1.2022

    Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Sarala Jayakumar
    Awarded certificate of Excellence
    Authentication No: FB203964197620-08-0222

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