The Supreme Court today asked the Centre and all states to implement its directions on prison reforms including filling up of vacancies of jail staff across the country and devise a scheme to audit their accounts. A bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta also asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to take urgent steps to ensure proper training of the jail staff. The top court has also ordered setting up of a ‘Board of Visitors’ to visit the prisons to ensure that these are run in accordance with the rules.
“We direct the Union of India, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, to take urgent steps to prepare training manuals for various categories of staff and officers in jails,” it said. Earlier, the court had pointed to “huge discrepancy” in expenses incurred on jail inmates by various states and had asked MHA to come out with a scheme to audit the accounts of jails across the country with the assistance of the Comptroller and Auditor General.
As per the data, the expense per inmate in jails in Bihar was Rs 83,691 per annum, while that in Rajasthan was only about Rs 3,000 per annum. Similarly, in Nagaland, it stood at about Rs 65,468 per annum, while in Punjab, it was around Rs 16,669, it had noted.
It had taken note of staff crunch in the prisons as the sanctioned strength of jail officers and staff as on December 31, 2014 was 79,988, out of which the actual strength stood at only 52,666. The bench is hearing a 2013 PIL on prevailing inhuman conditions prevailing in 1,382 prisons across the country.