To strike a balance between the right of prisoners and the power of authorities relating to their custody, the Supreme Court has ruled that even convicts who have been sentenced for terrorism or other ghastly crimes can’t be transferred to any other jail through an administrative order.
The power to shift prisoners is judicial in nature, which means inmates have a legal right to have their say.
The SC, on November 2, allowed an appeal by the Maharashtra government challenging a Bombay HC verdict directing it to order departmental proceedings and action against unidentified officials, who allegedly used excessive force against a few 1993 serial blasts convicts while they were being transferred from Arthur Road jail to another jail four years ago.
The SC had found the inquiry conducted by a sessions judge at the HC’s direction was deficient as it reached to a conclusion without allowing the suspected officials to cross-examine the witnesses.
However, the bench of justice TS Thakur and justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla judges had held that police excesses whether inside or outside a jail is an anathema to the rule of law. The SC had directed the state government to “treat the sessions judge report as a preliminary inquiry and take a considered decision whether or not any further investigation or proceedings against those allegedly responsible for using excessive force while restoring discipline in the jail on June 26, 2008 needs to be conducted’’.