A ray of hope

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government to provide more facilities to prisoners languishing in jails across the country. The bench told the PMO, Cabinet, Home Ministry, and Finance Ministry to increase inmates’ salary and facilities in a proportion comparable to the increase being offered to government employees. In its Prison Evaluation Report prepared three years ago, the National Human Rights Commission had outlined the deficiencies in current prison management system. These included inhumane treatment of prisoners, illegal detention, absence of juvenile justice system, lack of proper healthcare facilities and curtailment of free flow of information.

No one has the right to deprive any Nepali citizen of his or her basic human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, even if the concerned person is a hardcore criminal.

Practices like keeping back letters sent by inmates’ concerned relatives, and blindfolding and torturing them without any good reason cannot be justified under any pretext. In addition, the prisoners also have the right to safe drinking water, ventilated living quarters, and clean clothes and food. No human being can be happy and healthy unless these bare minimum requirements to lead a decent life are met. The SC directive, in this connection, gives all prisoners serving time across Nepal a new ray of hope.