Under the guidance of Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and Patron-in-Chief J&K SLSA, Gita Mittal and the supervision of Justice Rajesh Bindal, Executive Chairman, J&K State Legal Services Authority (J&K SLSA) today organized an online awareness programme in association with J&K Judicial Academy and Department of Prisons on the topic, “Rights of Prisoners & Corresponding Duties of Jail Custodians—A Legal Analysis” with the objective of sensitizing the Legal Services Authorities and the Jail authorities regarding their duties and rights of prisoners.The awareness programme invited participation from District Legal Services Authorities, Judicial Officers, Jail Authorities, Retainer Advocates and Para Legal Volunteers.Ajay Verma, a practicing lawyer at Delhi High Court, was the Resource Person in the programme. He specializes in the field of Human Rights and Prison Reforms and has been the convener of National Forum for Prison Reforms in India from August, 2016 to June, 2020. He sensitized the online audience regarding the concept of Prisoners Right and the corresponding duties of the custodians in ensuring the protection of their rights.
The Resource Person highlighted the historical perspective of the concept and enunciated various constitutional provisions, including the basic rights guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution, to stress upon the subject of Prison Justice. The role and responsibility of the Jail Authorities in the administration of Prison Justice and as custodians of prisoners was underlined. He stressed upon the development of prisons as correctional rehabilitative institutions as being critical components of Criminal Justice Systems. The jail authorities were called upon to ensure the Rights of the Prisoners relating to health both physiological and psychological, security, educational opportunities, and their overall well being.The Legal Services Authorities were called upon to continue creating awareness amongst prisoners about their rights, ensuring the availability of Legal Aid Lawyers and for providing necessary assistance to vulnerable groups within the jail including Juveniles, prisoners of foreign origin and mentally ill inmates.The Resource Person underscored the importance of vigilant Judiciary to ensure that the prisoners are not subjected to inhuman conditions within the jail and their basic rights are ensured. The Resource Person had an online interaction with the participants and provided answers to their queries.The participants were also apprised about various enactments dealing with prison regulations in India and the ideology of prison reformation and justice.