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Punjab & Haryana High Court Upholds Prisoners’ Rights, Strikes Down Restrictive Outdoor Policy in High Security Zones

Last Updated on November 30, 2023 by News Desk

The Punjab & Haryana High Court has set aside an order by the Additional Director General of Police (Jails), Punjab, which limited the release of prisoners in high security zones to only two hours in the open atmosphere.

Justice Vinod S. Bhardwaj stated that prisoners and correctional facilities play a crucial role in the criminal justice system and that every person deserves respect and dignity.

The court also highlighted the importance of offering psychological support to inmates and allowing them access to adequate outdoor exposure. The court ruled that security measures can be imposed only up to a limit, as per Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India, which are available even to prisoners. It was also noted that strict measures need to be adopted against jail personnel to punish those guilty of aiding criminals in an exemplary manner.

The court also noted the Apex Court’s decision in State of A.P. v. Challa Ramkrishna Reddy & Ors., where it was held that a prisoner, whether a convict or undertrial, does not cease to be a human being, and while lodged in jail, they enjoy all their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India, including the right to life. While setting aside the order, Justice Bhardwaj emphasised that the pretext of security cannot deprive a prisoner of his basic rights.

The court granted the plea, ruling that the contested order had not upset the necessary balance.

Case Title: Joginder Singh vs. State of Punjab & Ors.

Written by: Srijan Raj, @procrastinate_human

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