The Uttarakhand High Court ruled that keeping a convict in solitary confinement before the exhaustion of his or her constitutional and other rights is unconstitutional.
“This practice to keep the convict in custodial segregation/solitary confinement before the exhaustion of his constitutional, legal and fundamental rights is without authority of law. It will amount to additional punishment. It also amounts to torture and violative of his basic human rights”, a Division Bench of the Court said.
The Court said that convict shall not be segregated/ isolated till the sentence of death has become final, conclusive and indefeasible which cannot be annulled or voided by any judicial or constitutional procedure.
“Under the U.P. Jail Manual, the prisoner is supposed to be in isolation for more than 23 hours a day. This is against the Nelson Mandela Rules. He has no contact with outside world. He is kept in solitary confinement till he is acquitted or pardoned. There is no scientific reason why the convict sentenced to death should be kept in isolation for indefinite period till he exhausts all his constitutional and legal remedies. It causes immense pain, agony and anxiety to the condemned convict. It is violative of Articles 20(2) and 21 of the Constitution of India. A man, even sentenced to death, has certain privileges and rights which cannot be denied to him due to colonial mindset. The provisions of U.P. Jail Manual are anarchic, cruel and insensitive”, the Court opined.