Upholding Fundamental Rights of Prisoners: A Challenge to Criminal Justice System in India

  • Damini Krishan
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  • Damini Krishan

    LL.M. Student at Dharmashastra National Law University, Jabalpur, India

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As per the latest Prison Statistics India Report 2021 (as on December 31st), released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) , total number of prisoners in the Indian jails, has increased by 1.0% in comparison with the year 2020. According to data provided by various State and UT Prison Headquarters, the number of prisoners at the end of each year is far greater than the actual capacity of such jails. The prison population is decreasing while occupancy is increasing at a double-digit rate. In 2019, there were 1,351 prisons, with a total capacity of 4,00,934. At the end of the year, these jails had 4,81,387 inmates, with a 120.1% occupancy rate. When data from 2020 and 2021 are compared, comparable conclusions can be drawn. The prison population increased from 1,306 in 2020 to 1,319 in 2021, but the prison population increased from 4,88,511 to 5,54,034, resulting in a two-year shift in occupancy rate. The number of under-trials increased by 14.9% between 2020 and 2021, rising from 3,71,848 in 2020 to 4,27,165 in 2021, with only 53 of the 4,27,165 being civil inmates. According to the Law Commission of India's 78th Report, undertrials are criminals who have not been found guilty but have been detained pending investigation, inquiry, or trial for a crime they are accused of committing. These people are in judicial custody or on remand for an investigation. Prisoners were subject to colonial laws prior to enactment of the Code of Criminal Procedure. However, before delving into the statutory provisions, the Indian Constitution is a superior and more important document that identifies the rights of a prisoner in India. Part III of the Indian Constitution guarantees certain rights and safeguards personal liberty. Although, the fact that these rights are subject to exceptions, is not out of sight This paper will examine the extent to which prisoners are able to exercise the fundamental rights protected by Part III. In light of various laws and prison reform committees, we will assess the viability of these rights. We will examine and evaluate whether the Indian judiciary has been successful in protecting the fundamental rights in the absence of a comprehensive codified law for prisoner rights by pointing out any gaps within the current framework.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 6, Page 1379 - 1389

DOI: https://doij.org/10.10000/IJLMH.116251

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