Prisoners are entitled to make free calls to family and friends, whether they are being held pre-trial or serving a sentence.Contact with the outside world in jail is a right in itself and, therefore, it functions as a protection against torture and other abuses.It allows imprisoned persons to take legal action and manage various issues, for e.g. the child's custodye.t.c. Prison administrations must manage contacts with inmates outside the world and pay attention to some protected and private communication (legal representation) and that visit must not only be evaluated as a prisoner's right but also as a family's members, youngsters right in particular.The Government of Uttar Pradesh has informed the High Court of Allahabad that its High Powered Committee has resolved to monitor prisoners' interactions with the outside world from a safety and security perspective.The Uttar Pradesh Government additionally advised that the rules set by the High PoweredCommittee provide for the maintenance of a record and authentic communication from the point of view of safety and security.
FACTUAL MATRIX OF THE CASE
- The petition was submitted by two prisoners, prosecuted under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and various other crimes under the Indian Penal Code.
- The petition prayed to enable respondents, via video-conference or cell phone connection, to allow enough communication/interviews between petitioners and the members of their families.
- It was also prayed in the petition to arrange adequate and appropriate facility between petitioners and their legal advisers.
The Additional Government Advocate submitted that the Government was taking reasonable precautions to monitor the spread of the global pandemic, although it was permitted to communicate with prisoners outside the world, however it was surveyed for safety and security maintenance, and certain guidelines were indeed available for that purpose.
In addition, alluding to the High Powered Committee, the rules said that all convicts' interactions with the outside world would be permitted in an emergency scenario for court purposes only, using video-conferencing. However as far as interactions with family members and anybody else are concerned, standards have been made that allow this connection through telephone as well in emergencies.
Referring certain to the High-Powered Committee's judgments that, inter alia, permit for surveillance of prisoner communications with the outside world from a security point of view. Furthermore, the Guidelines specify that this contact be maintained as a record from the point of view of safety and security and that true dialogue is permitted in free terms.
The court ordered that in accordance with the need of paragraphs 697 to 708 of U.P. Jail Manual, the Court allowed the petitioners' Legal Advisors/Advocates to move the necessary demand. The Jail Superintendent shall make a decision and record his satisfaction, if necessary, as required under the requirements of paragraph 457-D of U.P. Jail Manual, after any such request has been submitted.
The decision that the Superintendent of Jail may adopt in accordance with paragraph 457-D of the Uttar Pradesh Jail Manual must be immediately communicated to the legal advisors and lawyers of the petitioners. If he records his satisfaction that the interaction/interview the legal advisers and lawyers are seeking is genuine, he shall allow the same to be applied to the Court as promptly as possible.
The Court finally observed with regard to the telephone facility that, in the absence of any verification of the phone number, contact was not at the moment feasible and the telephone numbers given by the petitioner for the purposed of engaging with the family members were being checked. The court noted, however, that the facility is made available to them as soon as the number is validated.
Prisoners are entitled to make free calls to family and friends, whether they are being held pre-trial or serving a sentence.Contact with the outside world in jail is a right in itself and, therefore, it functions as a protection against torture and other abuses.It allows imprisoned persons to take legal action and manage various issues. Prison administrations must manage contacts with inmates outside the world and pay attention to some protected and private communication (legal representation) and that visit must not only be evaluated as a prisoner's right but also as a family's members, youngsters right in particular.Contacts with families and friends have become critical for the social reintegration of the people imprisoned once freed, but also important for their general well-being. Considering the present situation when it is not feasible to entertain visitors so as to curb the spread of covid-19 in prisons the above judgment with respect to monitoring the communication of the prisoners with the outside world is justified with respect to safety and security purposes.