Madurai: Seeking to offer succour to prisoners lodged in jails outside their home states and suffering due to language barrier, the Madras High Court has directed all states and union territories to submit a list of such prisoners to it by August 26.
Justice S Vimala, who ordered transfer of a life convict from central prison here to a Odisha jail, said there could be prisoners in similar circumstances outside their home states.
She suo motu included top police and prison officials of all states and union territories as respondents and directed them to submit the list of such prisoners by August 26.
Hearing the petition of T Susanth Pradhan of Odisha, the judge opined that there may be many like Pradhan, who said he was not even able to attend his father’s funeral.
“They might not have the facility to file such petitions. There is a need to identify such prisoners and give them the needed relief,” she said.
Quoting former Supreme Court Judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, she said prisoners are sadistically kept in prisons and added that the situation should change.
Observing that rehabilitation is the idea behind incarceration, she said behavioural change among prisoners can be expected only if the disturbing conditions in prisons are eliminated.
If prisoners were not able to communicate with fellow inmates or family members, then the results would be counter productive, she said.
The judge sought to know whether it was procedurally fair to keep a person at the central prison here, depriving him of liberty as he knew only Oriya language.
The prisoner had been convicted in November 2002 and it was not appropriate to detain him here for more than seven years when his aged mother and family were in Odisha, she said.
The judge ordered the prisoner to be transferred to circle jail at Choudwar, rejecting the contention of the Odisha Government Pleader that he could not be shifted till his government accepted Tamil Nadu’s proposal to shift him.