Quasi-solitary confinement by putting prisoner in cell for 22 hours a day violates right to life under Article 21: Punjab and Haryana High Court

4th July,2021

Quasi-solitary confinement by putting prisoner in cell for 22 hours a day violates right to life under Article 21: Punjab and Haryana High Court



The Punjab and Haryana High Court ruled on Wednesday that keeping a prisoner to a cell for 22 hours a day for quasi-solitary confinement is unlawful and violates the fundamental right to life protected by Article 21 of the Constitution (Rajia vs. State of Punjab). As a result, the practise of confining individual convicts in individual cells for the majority of the day and for indefinite durations is illegal, according to Justice Sudhir Mittal. As a result, he ordered that the prison administration come up with proposals for security enforcement that are legal in order to prevent trouble from hardened and dangerous criminals. The Court was considering a plea brought by a mobster named Rajia, who claimed he was confined to his cell for 22 hours a day and only allowed to go for two hours. He also claimed that ordinary prisoners have access to amenities such as private maintenance, which includes the provision of food, clothing, bedding, and other necessities from private sources, as well as cooking facilities, adequate food and water, adequate clothing, newspapers, magazines, and television. He claimed that these limits amounted to solitary confinement and that they violated his right to life under Article 21. When members of the same gang are imprisoned together, they plan to conduct crimes outside of jail and so continue their criminal operations despite being incarcerated. It was claimed that when convicts from various gangs are imprisoned in the same prison, riots and disorderly conduct occur. Solitary imprisonment, on the other hand, was categorically denied. "Except for one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening, the convict has complete autonomy over his solitary. Except for the occasional jail worker that stops by on rounds, he has no company during this time. Because he is unable to see any other human being, conversing with them is out of the question. There is no such thing as a common messing area "the Court remarked The detainee is deprived of human company for long periods of time, and such confinement has been found to be excessively severe and in violation of basic human rights, according to the Court.