Healthcare for Prisoners in India

Author: Reny Chauhan


Prisoners have the right to be non-transferable under international treaties and treaties, have the right to medical services, and most certainly have the right not to get sick from prison. Prison law recognizes that prisoners must not lose all rights due to detention. However, there is a loss of rights within the detention facility. Public health policies ensure that all members of society are in good health and have the best living conditions. Prisoners often forget about this formula. They are in constant contact with all kinds of people who go in and out of prison every day. It is even more important to control prison infections from spreading to the outside world during these constant movements inside and outside the prison. In India, overcrowding has exacerbated hygiene problems. The situation in many prisons is terrible. Even the basics are not offered in Tehsil-class prisons. Indian prisoners are also not tested for certain infections, but all prisoners undergo a medical examination when the mold is activated. Studies of the prevalence of viral infections among prisoners have not been conducted at the national level. The Indian Prison Manual stipulates that inmates suspected of having an infectious disease should be quarantined. In some prisons, they made informal contacts with medical and social groups to consult prisoners to prevent the spread of the infection.

 There are many causes of prison violence. Conflicts may include ethnic causes or conflicts between clans and organizations. Closed and often very crowded living conditions also create hostility among inmates. A boring prison environment, lack of mental and physical occupation, and simple boredom leads to accumulated frustration and stress. This environment guides the path of high-risk activities, such as drug use and male sex. Some indulge in these activities to fight boredom. However, others are forced to participate in coercive play for power and financial gain. A dangerous lifestyle can transmit the disease from one prisoner to another and, if not confirmed, can pose a significant public health risk. Not all prisoners get sick in prison. This fact is even more important when the disease is potentially fatal, as is the case with HIV / AIDS. In the Supreme Court of India ruled Parman and Katara vs Union of India (1989) and others in a groundbreaking decision, whether he was an innocent person or a criminal who had to be punished by law. The state has ruled that it has an obligation to sustain life. The right to a condition sufficient for the health and well-being of everyone, especially with regard to health, is already recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESR) also states that prisoners have the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The

 Minimum Standards Rule for Prisoners regulates the provision of medical care to them. Apart from civil and political rights, the so-called second-generation economic and social human rights set out in ICESCR also apply to prisoners. The right to the highest attainable standard of health should apply to prison health and medical care. These rights to health care and health and the environment are clearly linked to other first-generation rights such as non-discrimination, privacy and confidentiality, especially in the case of HIV. Inmates cannot protect themselves in detention situations. Providing medical services and a healthy environment is a national responsibility. The

 Human Rights Code requires inmates to receive at least the same medical services available to the outside population. Prisons, on the other hand, are closed institutions that act as protections that do not always allow the same provision of care from the outside, so equality, not fairness, was required. Prisoners are more likely to be in poor health already when they enter prison, and in the poor environment there, they worsen their health. Therefore, the need for health care treatment is often greater in prisons than in external communities. However, in India, the chronically inadequate medical system has proved to be very difficult to provide even basic medical services to prisoners.

In detention facilities, humans may be either voluntarily attended by powerful prisoners or either violent or high-risk lifestyles coerced by weak prisoners. Prisoners have the right to purchase on conditions that ensure personal safety. It is of utmost importance that the prison administration has sufficient knowledge of how HIV can be transmitted in a particular prison. If sexual hypotension and/or violence is the main issue, timely interventions will be implemented for better surveillance and protection of target inmates. HIV-positive prisoners must not be denied access to recreation, education or the outside world.

From a strict medical point of view, inmates cannot justify a healthy separation. Solitary confinement of HIV-positive prisoners should be banned. Restrictions such as examinations that are essential, especially for dangerous situations, such as prisoners working as medics in hospitals and dentistry, need to be exceptional. Personal security should also be considered, for example, if a prisoner who knows he is HIV positive is asking for it to be stored in a secure device because he fears for his own safety. Both prison reform and prison reform are important factors in addressing many of the issues affecting prisons in India. Reducing the prison overall population helps ensure the safety of all individuals incarcerated, enabling improvements in prison physical and working conditions. Obviously, resources will have to be allocated to the prison system.


If human rights are violated, the story of human rights is meaningless unless legal support is provided to bring them to trial. This is a phenomenal challenge in India’s size and heterogeneity, where more than half of its population lives in quiet villages full of poverty, poverty and illiteracy. The structure of the law is no longer a matter of charity or charity, but one of the constitutional rights, and the legal device itself is expected to address this concretely. The basic idea of ​​the legal structure must be easily accessible to the judicial administration and must not be out of the reach of those who rely on the judiciary to exercise their legal rights. about it. In fact, the legal structure provides society with a challenging opportunity to remedy the complaints of the poor and provides the legal basis for the rule of law. Indian judiciary played an important role in developing the concept of legal structure and expanding its scope to give people access to courts in the event of human rights abuses.


Right to speedy trial is a fundamental right of a prisoner implicit in article 21 of the Constitution. It ensures just, fair and reasonable procedure. The fact that a speedy trial is also in public interest or that it serves the social interest also, does not make it any the less right of accused. It is in the interest of all concerned that the guilt or innocence of the accused is determined as quickly as possible in the circumstances. In the case of Hussainara Khatoon v. State of Bihar, a shocking state of affairs in regard to the administration of justice came forward. An alarmingly large number of men and women, including children are behind prison bars for years awaiting trial in the court of law. The offences with which some of them were charged were trivial, which, even if proved would not warrant punishment for more than a few months, perhaps a year or two, and yet these unfortunate forgotten specimens of humanity were in jail, deprived of their freedom, for periods ranging from three to ten years without as much as their trial having commenced.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court expressed its concerned and said that: What faith can these lost souls have in the judicial system which denies them a bare trial for so many years and keeps them behind the bars not because they are guilty; but because they are too poor to afford bail and the courts have no time to try them. One reason why our legal and judicial system continually denies justice to the poor by keeping them for long years in pretrial detention is our highly unsatisfactory bail system. This system of bail operates very harshly against the poor and it is only the non-poor who are able to take advantage of it by getting themselves released on bail. The poor find it difficult to furnish bail even without sureties because very often the amount of bail fixed by the courts is so unrealistically excessive that in a majority of cases the poor are unable to satisfy the police or the magistrate about their solvency for the amount of the bail and where the bail is with sureties as is usually the case, it becomes an almost impossible task for the poor to find persons sufficiently solvent to stand as sureties.

In Hussainara Khatoon (II) v. Home Secretary, State of Bihar, the Court while dealing with the cases of undertrials who had suffered long incarceration held that a procedure which keeps such large number of people behind bars without trial so long cannot possibly be regarded as reasonable, just or fair so as to be in conformity with the requirement of Article 21.


In State of Maharashtra v. Prabhakar Panduranga , the court held that the right to personal liberty includes the right to write a book and get it published and when this right was exercised by a detenu its denial without the authority of law violated Article 21. In the case of R. Rajagopal alias R.R. Gopal and Another v. State of Tamil Nadu and Others, the petition raises a question concerning the freedom of press vis-a-vis the right to privacy of the citizens of this country. It also raises the question as to the parameters of the right of the press to criticize and comment on the acts and conduct of public officials. The court held that the petitioners have a right to publish, what they allege to be the life-story/autobiography of Auto Shankar insofar as it appears from the public records, even without his consent or authorisation. But if they go beyond that and publish his life story, they may be invading his right to privacy and will be liable for the consequences in accordance with law. Similarly, the State or its officials cannot prevent or restrain the said publication.


U.S. Supreme Court in Manna v. People of Illinois once said that life is not merely animal existence. The souls behind the bars cannot be denied the same. It is guaranteed to every person by Article 21 of the Constitution and not even the State has the authority to violate that Right. A prisoner, be he a convict or under-trial or a detenu, does not cease to be a human being. They also have all the rights which a free man has but under some restrictions. Just being in prison doesn’t deprive them from their fundamental rights. Even when lodged in the jail, he continues to enjoy all his Fundamental Rights. On being convicted of crime and deprived of their liberty in accordance with the procedure established by law, prisoners still retain the residue of constitutional rights.

The importance of affirmed rights of every human being need no emphasis and, therefore, to deter breaches thereof becomes a sacred duty of the Court, as the custodian and protector of the fundamental and the basic human rights of the citizens. Supreme Court has gone a long way fighting for their rights. However the fact remains that it is the police and the prison authorities who need to be trained and oriented so that they take prisoner’s rights seriously.