The plea stated that the number of inmates in Tihar Jail had exceeded the actual capacity of each barrack and it is on record that there is a huge increment in the total population of inmates in the complex.
The petition has been moved by an NGO- Nyaya Foundation stating that the unnecessary overcrowding of such jails amounts to the denial of the fundamental rights of the inmates as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, wherein a peaceful and dignified lifestyle of an individual is covered. Due to the overcrowding of this Prison Complex, the inmates’ lives are largely affected as a result of mental and physical tortures caused to them, stated the plea.
According to the plea, if the persons who are in the Tihar prison complex in any case which is punishable lesser than 3 years and are first-time offenders, the probation report must be considered to release them on bail.
The plea further stated that unnecessary arrests congest the Jail Complex. In such cases, if an innocent person is arrested, he or she, on confronting the situation inside the Jail, causes himself or herself to commit crimes, which would not have happened but for the illegal/unreasonable arrest.
According to the plea despite the law laid down by the top court, the casual arrests have not stopped. The accused persons are being taken into custody and put behind the bars in a sheer violation of the law. The congestion caused as a result of the same acts as a catalyst to the mental agonies of the inmates, reducing their lives to nothing – a mockery of Human Rights Laws.
The prison complexes in Rohini and Mandoli established in 2004 and 2016, respectively, were supposed to ease the burden of Tihar, but they face the same issue.
Responding to an RTI, the office of the Director General of Prisons said, Tihar which is one of the largest prison complexes in the world and comprising nine central prisons, has the capacity to house 5,200 inmates, but 13,183 prisoners are currently lodged in its different central jails. The prison complexes that were supposed to reduce Tihar’s burden are overcrowded too. Mandoli, which has six central jails, has a capacity of 1,050 but 2,037 inmates are currently staying there. Rohini, which has only one central jail, has a capacity of 3,776 but 4,355 inmates are currently lodged there in different cases, plea read.