Taking into consideration various problems of the foreign prisoners during their sentence,a team of students and faculty of Symbiosis Law School (SLS) is carrying out a study to analyse the condition of these prisoners in jails of Maharashtra. The study pertains to the fundamental rights of such prisoners and to what extent they are being implemented in the prisons.
A team of eight students and two faculty members,Abhijeet Vasmatkar and Atmaram Shelke,headed by principal,SLS,Shashikala Gurpur,are carrying out the research for the project. The study will be completed in another six months and the team would analyse the situations in prisons in citieslike Pune,Mumbai,Thane,Nashik and Aurangabad.
The primary aim of this study is to find out the rights of these prisoners and if these prisoners are exercising these rights in the prisons. “Based on our assessments,we will be giving some recommendations by which the rights of these people can be implemented in a better way,” said Prakritee Yonzon,student co-ordinator of the project. Based on their research,the team has found some of the basic problems being faced by these prisoners.
“One of the most important problem these prisoners are facing is that of language. Many of the prisoners don’t know about their rights. They don’t know about our laws and thus most of them are not able to demand certain rights,” said Rohan Batra,another member of the group. Apart from Yonzon and Batra,other students include –Arjun Puri,Aayushi Anand,Mayukh Datta,Janavi Mohanty,Urvi Mohan and Prasouk Jain.
Most of the prisoners have been arrested under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act or over immigration issues. “But the problem is they do not even know they are entitled to get free legal aid from the state. Under such circumstances we want to put forward a few recommendations. We believe that better co-operation between the jail authorities and the prisoners can help solve a lot of problems. These prisoners should be given counselling about their rights. The prison manual,which is a booklet about the rights of prisoners,should be made available to all prisoners,” added Yonzon.
The students will also put forward their recommendation to bridge the gap between these prisoners and their respective embassies. “Many prisoners are not able get in touch with their consulates which further complicates things for them. We want to ask the government to do something so that this gap can be bridged. Many of them cannot adapt to Indian food. So even if they are not given special food,there should be some consideration for the kind of food they are given,” said Abhijeet Vasmatkar,a faculty member. The team aims to cover as many prisons as they can in the next few months .
The study will be completed in the next six months after which the report will be sent to the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) and also to the central government.