The expression "Human Rights" is of recent Origin. It denotes all those rights which are inherent in human beings irrespective of caste, creed, religion, sex and nationality. Human Rights are the rights which no one can be deprived without a grave affront to justice. Human rights are natural rights of the human race without which we cannot live as human beings. Therefore, human rights sometimes are also called as natural rights or basic rights or Fundamental Rights. In the Field of Human Rights, prisoners are the most oppressed class. Violation of Human Rights means the absence of opportunities for the development of one's personality. Our method of investigation, prevention of crimes, prosecution and trial outdated and defective. In the process of prevention of crimes, social events and economic standards should be taken into account. We have been neglecting these aspects so far. Innocent people become the Victims of Police Atrocities. Due to the exercise political influence, either innocent people are detained or convicts are freed from the jails.
Human Rights of Prisoners:
Prisons are built with stones of law and so, when human rights are hashed behind bars, constitutional justice impeaches such a law. In the sense courts which send citizens into prisons, have an onerous duty to ensure that, the detention is subject to the constitutional safeguards, free from torture or inhuman treatment in jail. Some Human Rights of Prisoners are as follows-
(i) Right against Illegal Detention -
The Right to Legal Service is the prisoners Fundamental Right. Hussainara Khatoon Vs. State of Bihar, in this case, a number of under-trial prisoners were in jail for periods longer than the maximum term which they could have been sentenced if convicted. The Supreme Court directed those under-trial prisoners to be released forthwith as continuance of their detention was clearly illegal and in violation of their fundamental rights under Article 21 of the Constitution. It was further Held that Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides that no person shall be deprived of his life or liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
(ii) Right to Legal Services -It is not enough that there should be some semblance of procedure, provided by law, but the procedure under which a person may be deprived of his life or liberty should be reasonable, fair and Just. Now, the Procedure which does not make available legal services to an accused person who is too poor to afford a lawyer, and who would, therefore, have to go through the trial without legal services, cannot possibly be regarded as reasonable, fair and just. It is an essential ingredient of reasonable, fair and just procedure to a prisoner who is to seek his liberation through the Court's process and that he should have legal services available to him.
(iii) Right to Speedy Trial -
Right to Speedy Trial is also a prisoner's Human Right. The Right to speedy trial is a part of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and this right is available in corruption cases also. Francis Coralie Mullin vs. administration, Union Territory of Delhi, In this case, it was held that the petitioner or Detenue would be entitled to have interviews with the members of his family and friends, and no prison regulations are procedure laid down by Prison regulations regulating the right to have interviews with the members of the family and friends can be upheld as constitutionally valid. Right to have interviews with the members of the family and friends is clearly a part of personal liberty, guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.
(iv) Right to Legal Defence vis-a-vis Legal Aid to Prisoners -
Right to defense is one of the basic rights of arrested person as envisaged in clause (1)to Article 22 of the Indian Constitution that affirms that an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his choice.
Sukhdas Vs. Union Territory of Arunachal Pradesh AIR 1986 SC.991, In this case, Supreme Court Held that The right to free Legal Aid is a part of fundamental rights and is primordial consideration of the State.
(v) Right to appeal and right to approach to court for enforcement of fundamental rights -
Even a Convict is entitled to the precious right guaranteed under by article 21 of the Constitution that he shall not be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.
Madhav Hayawadanrao Haskot vs State of Maharashtra AIR 1978 SC 1548, In this case, Court held that the component of fair procedure is the application of the principles of natural justice. Generally speaking and subject to the just exceptions at least a single right of appeal on facts, where criminal conviction is a fraught with loss of Liberty, is basic to civilized jurisprudence. It is integral to fair procedure, natural justice and normative universality.
Compensation for illegal detention -
In case of illegal detention or deprivation of an individual's right to life and personal liberty, the remedy under Article 32 and 226 of the Indian constitution is to release a person from detention or remove forms of unlawful physical restraint imposed on him. But the question arises whether such corrective remedies alone are sufficient to do justice in cases involving mental and physical torture, loss of limbs or faculties, loss of livelihood or deprivation of benefits of community life due to illegal detention or imprisonment. such situations call for additional relief in the form of compensation (damages) for the injury or loss suffered by the affected Prisoners.
See also...When Accused is Entitled to Compensation?