13 December 2021


Supreme Court

Re – Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons


Human Rights

Ensuring a life of dignity for prisoners

The Supreme Court passed an order calling for the improvement in prisoners’ conditions incarcerated in jails across the country. The Court was of the opinion that despite there being consensus between governments about prisons facing a staff shortage and being ill-equipped to undertake reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners, inadequate corrective steps had been taken in that regard. It noted that some of the most overcrowded jails housed about three times as many prisoners as they were designed for: Dadra & Nagar Haveli (331.7 per cent), Chhattisgarh (258.9 per cent) and Delhi (221.6 per cent). Directions to reduce overcrowding and improving prisoners’ living conditions ranged from releasing undertrials who had undergone their sentence, efforts to rehabilitate first time offenders, sufficient legal aid for undertrials and effective utilisation of prison funds to improve prisoners’ living conditions. Issues of unnatural deaths in jails, inadequacy of staff and training will be considered by the Court in subsequent hearings.


T.K. Gopal @ Gopi v. State of Karnataka MANU/SC/0351/2000
Bhim Singh v. Union of India (UOI) MANU/SC/0786/2014