• Kakoli Nath



Whether criminal or a legal citizen of a country, every human being has human rights and dignity along with the basic needs. No one has the right to deprive anyone of these rights. A country must provide them the fundamental rights, which should be absolute. The rights of the prisoners have always been a controversial topic in the universe. In an international scenario, a state should make welfare schemes for the prisoners' welfare for the sake of humanity. However, some countries are not concerned about this issue. In this article, an attempt has been made to define prisoners' human rights in detail.


Humans are the organism; their presence made this world. They born independent, free, equal, and have dignity. They are the reason behind the creation of this world. Hence, to have a peaceful atmosphere, it is important to have brotherhood among human beings.

Human rights are the rights that have been provided to all humans or say they have inherent it. These rights are given irrelevant to the nationality, place of residence, sex, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status. Hence, human rights have been given without discrimination, as these rights are fundamental to humans because they are interdependent, interrelated, and indivisible.


The principle of Human Rights is that every individual should have basic rights that should be applied universally. 1993, Vienna World Conference on Human Rights was a good initiative to protect the prisoners and give them basic rights.


The word Prisoner means a person who is kept under police custody in jail as the person has done an illegal act or offense. A person has become a prisoner when he or she is deprived of his/ her liberty by the lawful authorities for doing an unlawful act. However, that does not mean that anyone can ill-treat them, beat them, or torture them.

It is commonly seen that in many nations, prisoners are still gone through torture and ill-mannered behaviours. "Convicts are not by mere reason of the convicted denuded of all the fundamental rights they otherwise possess.[i]"

The Indian socio and legal scenario, prisoners by committing a crime, does not change them from being a human being. Therefore, they should be treated as human beings and should have punishment, which should not hurt their dignity and respect. Any country is a civilized society that should make that kind of law that ensures every citizen has a reasonable, dignified life. The basic legal rights that every Prisoner should have are the following-

· The right to have nutritional food and clean water.

· That they should be protected from any torture, violence, and racial harassment.

· That they should be able to get in touch with an advocate to defend himself.


From the very beginning, the practice of torture on the prisoners was widespread and predominant in India since immemorial time, which was not even restricted that became legitimate practice worldwide. In the name of investigation, many innocent people got attacked by torture, inhuman, barbaric treatment, and it also rises to custodial rape, molestation, and other forms of sexual torture on women.

The honourable Supreme Court of India in the case, Sunil Batra V. Delhi Administration[ii] clearly stated the obvious answer to the question "whether prisoners are a person who entitles to have fundamental rights in the custody of police authority?" the Supreme Court of India held that every Human whether the Prisoner or not is entitled to have Fundamental Rights in the legal world.

India has also signed to the covenant of prisoners' rights. At this present time, the issues which need the concern regarding prisoners in India are the following-

· Almost 80 percent of prisoners are in an undergone trail.

· There is a lack of efficiency in the judiciary, which results in the delay of the trail.

· When the court grants bail, the prisoners do not get released by jail authorities easily.

· Insufficient provisions of medical aid for prisoners.

· The jail authorities have insensitive and callous behaviour.

· The punishment given by the court carried out by jail authorities are not coherent with each other.

· Prisoners face harsh mental and physical torture, which results in there bad mental conditions.

· Lack of proper legal aid for prisoners in jail.

· The huge number of corruption and other malpractices in the government department.


For providing s good prison system, it is suggested that the authorities should make standards guided by the principles of international conventions, legislation, and human rights. Many international conventions can be considered like Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the 1949 Geneva Conventions (signed 1949)[iii], the American Convention on Human Rights (signed 1977)[iv], the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed 1977)[v], and the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (signed 1988)[vi].

The prison authorities should take responsibility and make their efforts to ensure the proper supervision and good treatment of prisoners in jail concerning the rule of law and according to an individual's human rights. The government or legislative authority of a country should also take the initiative to make welfare schemes for prison in which prisoners should encourage to do productive work and earn money for their family within living in prison, they can make sports activities or craft activities that should be arranged by the jail authorities. Authorities should teach them yoga and meditation to maintain their mental condition. Another most important thing that the Prisoner should get is healthcare, a goof healthcare centre in prison will help them have a good physical condition.


To give the punishment of detention should be limited to curtail the liberty of the human being. Rule of natural justice does not give anyone the right to torture any human being in prison. Therefore, the detention of a Human being does not give detention of that particular person's human rights.


Akansha Anand,

Fimt- School Of Law, New Delhi.


v RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS, VISITED ON 14TH JUNE 2020. (LINK- https://www.toppr.com/guides/civics/the-indian-constitution/rights-and-fundamental-rights/)

v HUMAN RIGHTS GUIDE FOR PRISONERS, VISITED ON 15TH JUNE 2020. (LINK-https://prisoneractivist.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/reporting-human-rights-violations-a-how-to-guide-for-prisoners/)

[i]Said by Justice V.R Krishna Iyer. [ii]1980 AIR 1579, 1980 SCR (2) 557 [iii]https://www.un.org/en/udhrbook/pdf/udhr_booklet_en_web.pdf [iv]https://treaties.un.org/doc/Publication/UNTS/Volume%201144/volume-1144-I-17955- English.pdf

[v]https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%20999/volume-999-i-14668-english.pdf [vi]https://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=IND&mtdsg_no=IV- 9&chapter=4&clang=_en


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