SC panel to examine issues in Indian jails

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the constitution of a committee under the chairmanship of its retired judge to look into problems in jails, including overcrowding.

Calling it a human rights issue, a three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Madan Bhimrao Lokur observed that the committee will also deal with issues pertaining to inmates languishing in jail despite being granted bail by the court.

The Supreme Court further said the committee for prison reforms will have government officers, who will coordinate with the retired judge, and apprise the apex court regarding suggestions to improve the lifestyle of inmates staying in overcrowded jails.

The bench also said that the central government is not properly utilising the amount it had collected under the order of the top court.
Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal, representing the Central government, told the court, “We have multiple problems. Finance is one of the major hurdles. We are trying to overcome this,” to which Justice Lokur observed,

“We (court) are also trying our best to solve problems. Also, we are not creating any hurdles in the way of the Central government.”
“Please don’t try to create an impression, we are making it clear that we have not and we are not criticising the government for everything. We are also citizens of this country. We don’t slam the government without any reason,” the judges said.

In the recent past, Justice Lokur had criticised the government for its failure in handling many issues, including garbage disposal, waste management, and Delhi sealing cases.

He had also asked the Centre if it had plans to deal with the problems the country is facing, and if so, convey these plans to the apex court. (ANI)