Sec 73 of the IPC defines solitary confinement as a form of imprisonment in
which the inmate lives in a single cell with little or no meaningful contact
with other people . Solitary confinement is a type of punitive tool within the
prison system to discipline or to separate disruptive prison inmates who are
security risks to other inmates, the prison staff, or the prison itself.
The legality of solitary confinement has been frequently challenged over the
past sixty years as conceptions surrounding the practice have changed. Much of
the legal discussion concerning solitary confinement has centred on whether or
not it constitutes torture or cruel and unusual punishment which can hamper the
physiological functioning of brain . Health care professionals and organizations
recognize the fact that solitary confinement is not ethical, yet the segregating
treatment fails to come to a halt.
Section 73 Solitary Confinement
Whenever any person is convicted of an offence for which under this code the
court has power to sentence him to rigorous imprisonment , the court may, by its
sentence , order that the offender shall be kept in solitary confinement for any
portion or portions of the imprisonment to which he is sentenced , not exceeding
three months in the whole, according to the following scale , that is say:
- A time not exceeding one month if the term of imprisonment shall not
exceed six months;
- A time not exceeding two months if the term of imprisonment shall exceed
six months and [shall not exceed one] year;
- A time not exceeding three months if the term of imprisonment shall
exceed one year.
Solitary confinement is a kind of punishment which secludes the prisoner from
any intercourse of sight of and communication with other prisoner ,it may be
accompanied with or without labour . In leading case of Kishore Singh V.
State Of Rajasthan
it was held by SC that solitary confinement is a type of
imprisonment in which there is complete isolation of prisoner from the co
prisoner and segregation from outside world and fellow prisoner .under the sec
73 solitary confinement ordered by the courts shall not exceed the following
|Terms Of Imprisonment
|6 Months - 1 Yrs
It is clear from that a sentence inflicting solitary confinement for the whole
term of imprisonment is illegal if exceeding 14 days. it must bear only a
portion of the term of imprisonment.
Charles Sobhraj Superintendent, Central Jail.
In this case, Supreme Court has held that any harsh isolation of a prisoner from
the society of fellow prisoners by cellular detention under the Prisons Act,
1894 sections 29 and 30 is penal, and it must be inflicted only in accordance
with fair procedure; and in the absence of which the confinement would be
violative of Article 21 of the Constitution.
Solitary Confinement under Prisons Act, 1894
Section 29 of The Prisons Act, 1894 deals with solitary confinement and it reads
"No cell shall be used for solitary confinement unless it is furnished with the
means of enabling the prisoner to communicate at any time with an officer of the
prison, and every prisoner so confined in a cell for more than twenty- four
hours, whether as a punishment or otherwise, shall be visited at least once a
day by the Medical Officer or Medical Subordinate."
When solitary imprisonment can be imposed:Imprisonment can have two propositions:
Limit of Solitary Confinement:
Rigorous punishment:The convicted prisoner on whom the solitary confinement imposed can be put to do
the hard labour where he can receive minimum wages for his work. Rigorous
punishment can be imposed only when the accused has done some heinous crime
Simple punishment:Simple imprisonment means lighter offences. Solitary confinement can be imposed
only in rigorous offences, not in simple offences. It is the type of
imprisonment where an accused convicted of a crime is kept in prison without any
Solitary confinement in any sentence can be awarded not more than 14 days at a
time for a maximum of 3 months. It must be awarded in intervals and periods .
If imprisonment exceeds 3 months then solitary confinement should not exceed 7
days in a month. If the imprisonment does not exceed more than 6 months, then
solitary confinement should be for 1 month.
If the imprisonment exceeds 6 months and does not exceed one year, then solitary
confinement can be imposed for 2 months. If the imprisonment exceeds one year,
then solitary confinement should not exceed 3 months.
Written By: Akshita Nath