The conditions of jails and prisoners compelled the Supreme Court to make a novel suggestion of involving private parties to build jails. This can be done under Corporate Social Responsibility by large corporate offices.
A bench headed by Justice K M Joseph made the suggestion in view of problems faced by jails due to their over-crowing. He quoted a study of prisons in India. Prisons are the lowest priority for any government. In Europe there is a concept of [private responsibility, he stated.
The suggestion came because of the alarming rate with which the under trials are kept in jails. Corporate offices can build and hand it over to the government. This will also ensure that the State Exchequer is not burdened. The corporate offices can also be offered tax benefits.
The discussion pertaining to overcrowding of jails and lack of facilities came while considering a petition moved by Gautam Navlakha, seeking to be shifted to House Arrest from Taloja Jail owing to health issues. The court ordered him to shift him to KEM Hospital, Mumbai for colonoscopy and skin allergy-related concerns.
The discussion started when Senior Lawyer Kapil Sibbal pointed to the issue of over-crowing in prisons.
As per rules, the under-trials cannot be put together with the convicts. The life of under-trials cannot be made inhumane, Justice Joseph observed. The bench also observed that when the system in jails is so bad, there is a tendency to seek revenge.
Justice Joseph requested the Solicitor General to look into the issue whenever he gets time.