The first of PUCL Maharashtra’s series of discussions on the impact of the lockdown on civil liberties, examined the rights of prisoners and the responsibility of the State to ensure the safety of all its citizens. The speakers for the session were Maja Daruwalla, Board Member and Senior Advisor, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative and Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel and Convenor, PUCL, Maharashtra. The session was moderated by Advocate Vijay Hiremath.

A report on Covid-19 and the prison conditions in Maharashtra, authored by Mihir Desai, Senior Counsel was released during the discussion. The report is now publicly available at –

http://pucl.org/reports/imprisoned-and-unsafe-prisoners-and-pandemic

The live discussion is available on PUCL’s facebook page –

https://www.facebook.com/peoples.union.for.civil.liberties/

(This discussion is a part of Lockdown on Civil Liberties – a series of discussions organised by PUCL Maharashtra on the issue of Covid-19 and the rights of the people)

The Lockdown on Civil Liberties Series

The lockdown and attendant issues have led to major violations of civil liberties and human rights. While some restrictions on rights may have been inevitable due to the nature of the pandemic, we believe that a large number of violations were entirely avoidable. The impact has been across sectors including economy, education, health, media, prisons, employment, migrant workers, women, domestic workers, sex workers, access to justice and many other segments. The lockdown has also been used by the Government to push through undemocratic means laws and policies which are against the people.

In this context, the PUCL Maharashtra has decided to bring out various segment-wise reports to record the impact. While some of the reports like the present one focus on Maharashtra others deal with all India situation.

The present report is the first in the series. PUCL had filed a Petition in the Bombay High Court concerning the prison conditions in Maharashtra and many of the annexures are taken from status reports filed by the State Government in Court. Some of them are therefore in Marathi and the report itself concentrates on Maharashtra.

This Report has been authored by Mihir Desai but is a combined effort of many persons including Vijay Hiremath, Shiraz Prabhu, Sandhya Gokhale, Lara Jesani, Geeta Seshu, Chayanika Shah, and many other members of PUCL (Maharashtra). We are also thankful to lawyers Kritika Agarwal, Isha Khandelwal and Archana Rupwate for helping with the court case.

Finally, we thank Shrujana for the cover page design.

PUCL (Maharashtra)

Read the full report HERE

 

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………… 1

Supreme Court and prison conditions…………………. 3

Supreme Court in Covid times and prisons………….. 10

Prison situation in Maharashtra………………………….. 14

Spread of Covid in prisons………………………………… 18

Personal Visits…………………………………………………. 20

Monitoring of prisons………………………………………… 24

Temporary prisons……………………………………………. 25

Conclusion………………………………………………………. 26

Annexure 1…………………………………………………………………………………… 28

Prison capacity in Maharashtra

Annexure 2…………………………………………………………………………………… 31

Statement by Maharashtra State to Bombay High Court on decongestion of prisons

Annexure 3…………………………………………………………………………………… 34

MoMs b/w State Gov. Authorities and Prison officials on decongestion (16/03/20)

Annexure 4…………………………………………………………………………………… 44

Minutes of HPC on 25th March 2020

Annexure 5…………………………………………………………………………………… 48

Maharashtra revised parole rules 8th May 2020

Annexure 6…………………………………………………………………………………… 50

Minutes of HPC on 11th May 2020

Annexure 7…………………………………………………………………………………… 55

Prison population in Maharashtra 19th June 2020

Annexure 8…………………………………………………………………………………… 57

High Court order of 2nd July 2020 on various aspects of prison conditions

Annexure 9…………………………………………………………………………………… 97

High Court order of 5th August 2020 in matter filed by NAP

Annexure 10…………………………………………………………………………………. 156

Central Government guidelines on safety in prisons 5th August 2020

Annexure 11…………………………………………………………………………………. 187

Maharashtra Government compliance report 15th June 2020

Annexure 12…………………………………………………………………………………. 194

Medical Staff in Maharashtra prisons


SIGN UP FOR COUNTERCURRENTS DAILY NEWSLETTER