THE SUPREME Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to hold a meeting of prison officials of states and Union Territories to consider setting up of open prisons.
A bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta asked the Ministry of Home Affairs to hold the meeting in the first week of February and directed states and Union Territories to convey their inputs on the proposal to the Centre before that. The court was hearing a PIL, which highlighted the sorry state of prisons across the country.
During the hearing, the amicus curiae in the case told the court that there were 63 open prisons housing around 6,000 inmates across the country.
Responding to him, the bench also observed that the concept of open prison could reduce the problem of overcrowding in the jails. “We would like the MHA to study this,” it said.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that it was primarily for the states to look into this aspect and the Centre could lay down guidelines for it.
When the bench was informed about the open jail system in Rajasthan, Venugopal said it could be helpful for other states too.
The AG also said the states and UTs should be directed to file affidavits in the court stating their view on the matter, but the bench did not agree with this.