Justice Administration and Under Trail Prisioners by Priyanka Mourya

“If you are going to punish a man retributively, you must injure him.

If you are to reform’ you must improve him. And men are not improved by injuries.

  • George Barnard Shaw

The Indian constitution not specifically mentioned about the right of prisoners but our preamble is the window for the constitution and it seeks to secure the entire citizenry by the words like justice liberty equality fraternity. The foundation for the right come into force because all the Indian citizens contained in part III of the constitution relating to fundamental right .and it needs to see that citizen is no longer said to be citizen just because they had became prisoner. No prisoners do have a fundamental right like a normal citizen because part II of the constitution define every person who can said to be citizen which include the prisoner also but because of lack of education about their right the prisoners does not try to ask for  justice . They have all the fundamental rights mentions in part III of Indian constitution but do they exactly have a right to exercise their fundamental right. the condition of the prisoners are very critical in India according to recent data 42% of India 254000 prisoners awaiting conviction remain in  jail and spend the half of the punishment time period during the trail for the crime because of which they are facing trail the most under trail prisoners are in state of U.P. Article 21 right to life also available to the prisoners but it is violating by state itself some time on the name of management services long trail etc. but we know that article 21 is very broad in nature so it also cover many rights which the prisoners have according to article 14 of the Indian constitution we have a right to equality but the prisoners are itself having the discrimination according to their status.

  • The first basic objective is to clear that there is no difference between the citizen of India and the prisoners on the basis of their fundamental right.
  • Then the study will be carried out to find out the rights of the prisoners and the enforcement.
  • Further it will be aimed to find out the real condition of the prisoners
  • As the study has been aimed to trace the challenges to secure the rights of prisoners and how we reform our prison to give them a peaceful life like a normal human being and protect their human rights also


Article 21of Indian constitution guarantees protection of right to life & personal liberty to the entire person except the procedure established by law which includes prisoners also. Prisoner’s classification (under prison rules) on the basis of ordinary or dangerous prisoner and sentence of death prisoner. An under trial or convicted prisoner cannot be subjected to a physical or mental restraint. If prisoner is too poor to afford counsel, is entitled to be offered legal aid.

The long judicial proceeding and burden of the cases is one of the problem which Indian judiciary if facing it is directly influencing the under trail prisoners because they are not even convicted but they are facing the inherent condition in the prison even some time they died before the hearing, some time they commit the suicide because of the situation present in the prison. That is violating the right to life of the prisoners we know that right to life is very broad in nature because of the different interpretation of the judiciary so the right to food water healthy environment, privacy, legal aid are the part of right to life.

RIGHT TO SPEEDY TRIAL which is given to prisoners under Article 21 is intended to avoid oppression and prevent delay by imposing on the Courts and on the prosecution an obligation to proceed with reasonable dispatch. If the government doesn’t get a defendant to trial within a certain amount of time, the court must toss the charges. the‘’ Denial of speedy trial may with or without proof of something more lead to an unavoidable inference of prejudice and denial of justice. It is prejudice to a man to be detained without trial. It is prejudice to a man to be denied a fair trial.’’The Hon’ble Justice Chinnappa Reddy. Concept of Personal Liberty of article 21 Moreover the need for “Speedy Justice” is also reflected by the claim of an individual with respect to his Right to Life and his Right to Dignity. The Concept “Right to Speedy Justice” is deep rooted and grounded in one of the fundamental instincts of humanity. “Personal Liberty”. Personal Liberty is one of the most cherished goals of every civilized society because ‘liberty’ is one of the greatest heritage of a man, without liberty life is lifeless and worthless to live, to renounce liberty is to renounce being a human to surrender right of humanity, life bereft of liberty would be without honour and dignity and it would lose all significance and meaning, that is why liberty is called the very quintessence of a civilized and decent existence.  ‘Personal Liberty’ under Article 21 of Indian Constitution is a compendious term. In Meneka Gandhi V Union of India,[1] The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India expand the horizons of expression “Personal Liberty” and gave it the widest possible meaning the court held that, “The expression of “Personal Liberty” in Article 21 is of widest amplitude and it covers a variety of rights which go to constitute personal liberty of a man “so it is also applied to the prisoners because the rights are like privacy food health are the part of their personal liberty.



Speedy Trial means a reasonable expeditiously trial which comply with all essentials of a trial.[2] It is a trial where the prosecution with reasonable diligence begins promptly and conducts expeditiously.[3] Article 21 of the Constitution give a Right to speedy trial as a fundamental right, the basic reason for the, right of speedy trial from the view point of the accused are –  The period of remand and pre conviction and under trail should be a reasonable and short.·  The worry, expenses and disturbances to this vocation and peace · from and unduly long investigation, enquiry and trial should be minimal.  Undue delay results in Impairment of the Ability of the Accused to defend him.· In general “Speedy Trial” means the conviction of a case within a “Reasonable Time” but it cannot be taken to mean the “Khomeini Trial” where proceedings are held in a camera trail and trial is over within no time, followed by an immediate execution without any Right of Appeal[4]which is again hampering the Article 21 is another manner that can be compensate . If JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED then JUSTICE HURRIED IS JUSTICE BURRIED, slow justice is bad but speedy injustice is no substitute. Therefore while focusing on the need of Speedy Trial in the Disposal of Cases; we must also be give attention against undue speed because this would be substituting one evil from another[5]


The delay in the execution of the death sentence is also violates of article 21 because of the situation they are facing after the conviction they are still facing the same situation of a trail and in many cases SC converted the death sentence into life imprisonment.

In case of (Javed Ahmed Vs. State of Maharashtra[6]), there is delay in execution of death sentence of more than 2 years and the conduct and behavior of the accused in the jail, evident from the report of the jail authorities show that he was showing genuine repentance, it was held that the death sentence could be commuted to life imprisonment. Each case is to be decided its own fact[7]

The life of the under trail prisoners are the responsibility of the state because they are not in position to earn and live so to provide the basic services it is the responsibility of state but the more impactful is that these services are the fundamental right of prisoners under Article 21 because of the wide range of Article 21 interpret by the SC give them such right under personal integrity and dignity.

Standard Minimum Rules has elaborated the rights of untried (under trial) prisoners in regard to their treatment. It clearly says that untried prisoners shall bekept separate from convicted prisoners. The other provisions of Standard Minimum Rules regarding under trials treatment may be summarized as follows:

“Untried prisoners shall sleep singly in separate rooms, with the reservation of different local custom in respect of the climate. Within the limits compatible with the good order of the institution, untried prisoners may, if they so desire, have their food procured at their own expense from outside, either through the administration or through their family or friends. Otherwise, the administration shall provide their food. An untried prisoner shall be allowed to wear his own clothing if it is clean and suitable. If he wears prison dress, it shall be different from that supplied to convicted prisoner


After dealing with both the issue I came to a conclusion that the delay in proceeding of under train prisoners is because of these reasons 1.Shortage of judges 2. Non-service of summons of witnesses and Non-appearance of Witnesses 3. Non-appearance of Police witnesses on the pretext of VIP duty, transfer to other places, etc 4.Non-production of accused from the jail because of unavailability of Escort 5. Delay tactics by advocates and the accused 6. Non-production of Case property 7. Undue adjournments 8 Lack of coordination between various organs of Criminal Justice Administration it can be removed by. When the number of judges should be increased according to the population it will reduce the burden of the judges. There should be a separate cell in the police to ensure timely service of summons. Rules can be amended to authorize the service of summons through telephone and E-mail in the modern era of information technology. Even examination of witnesses can be conducted through video-conferencing and it can be remove .and we can also conclude that it is clear that prison law can play an important role in ensuring prison staff do not abuse their powers in the way they maintain order and discipline through a mixture of formal and informal mechanisms. The reason for this is largely founded upon the recognition of international human rights norms that serve to safeguard prisoner’s rights against abuse from prison staff within the facilities that they are working in. Even though there is provision for Legal aid and so much importance is attached to it by the courts the most important concern is that this right does not exist in cases which involve economic offences or offences against law prohibiting prostitution or child abuse and the like, where social justice is required that free services may not be provided by the state. The powers granted to the victims of crime, which of revision and appeal, are extremely relevant and important so that fair justice may be meted out by the courts.

[1] 1978 AIR 597, 1978 SCR (2) 621

[2] 13 Essentials of a trial are :- (NOTICE, OPPORTUNITY OF BEING HEARD, AN IMPARTIAL TRIBUNAL, AN ORDERLY COURSE OF PROCEDURE) Villis “Constitutional Law” 1936, p – 622. 14

[3]Black’s Law Dictionary

[4] K.K. Mathews, “Laws Delays” 2 Kochin ULP(1978),

[5]  H.R. Khanna, “Judicial Reforms”, 3 SSC 1979 (J) p – 25.

[6] AIR 1985 SC 231),

[7] Research Reformer  ISSN-2319-6904 International Referred Online Research Journal Issue XI, August 2013

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