SC directs govt to make it better for inmates

Kathmandu, May 21:

The Supreme Court today directed the government authorities to provide more facilities to the prison inmates serving terms in the jails across the country and also initiate prison reforms.

A division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Tahir Ali Ansari issued the directive in response to a Public Interest Litigation filed by advocate Prakash Mani Sharma on behalf of the Pro-Public three years back.

“Provide all necessary facilities to the inmates according to the law,” the two-member bench directed.

The bench also told the authorities — the Prime Minister’s Office and Cabinet, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Finance — to gradually increase the inmates’ facilities like the increment of salary and facilities of the government employees.

The bench told the government authorities to implement the three-year-old Prison Evaluation Report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and to improve the management in the prisons and its administration to respect the human rights of the jail inmates.

“Implement the report from the next fiscal year,” the two-member bench directed.

The bench also told the authorities to protect the rights of the inmates, including the right to education, right to health service and provide necessary protection to the inmates’ children.

The report prepared by the National Human Rights Commission on prison evaluation had stated that inmates were blind-folded, detained without giving arrest warrant notice and that the prison administration was not adopting the juvenile justice system.

The report had also pointed out the lack of proper health facilities and serious scarcity of books in the jails. The report also stated that the inmates get censored information and newspapers and that there is no free flow of information.

Letters from the relatives were found not to be given to the inmates, the report said.

The NHRC report added that there is lack of safe drinking water, ventilated dormitories and other basic facilities, which has made the inmates’ lives more miserable.

The NHRC report had also criticised the lack of revision of prison system.

Advocates Prakash Mani Sharma and Sharmila Shrestha had sought the apex court intervention on the issue.