The State Government has been asked by Rajasthan HC to ensure that the prisoners are not forced to indulge in menial jobs in prison like cleaning toilets etc. merely based on caste. The state is to ensure that no under trial prisoner is forced to perform such jobs in the prison.
A Bench of Justice Devendra Kachhawaha and Justice Sandeep Mehta further inquired about the proposed steps for complete overhaul of the Prison Manual.
The Court was hearing two separate writ petitions filed by a Jodhpur-based prisoners’ rights lawyer, Kaluram Bhati in this matter of caste based menial jobs in prison.
“Considering the progressive democratic set up of our country and in order to ensure maintenance of proper hygiene in the prisons, it would be expedient in the interest of justice that the State Government considers installation of mechanized/automated cleaning facilities in all the prisons in the State of Rajasthan.”
“Recently, we have come across a very disturbing report published on a website regarding existence of a caste based work assignment system in the prisons in Rajasthan.”
The Court referred to a report based on a research paper of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI). The said report points out that the Prison Manuals of various states are still plagued by the archaic and derogatory caste system.
The Court observed,
“As per the report, every person, who enters a prison in the State, is asked about his caste and once identified; menial jobs in prison like cleaning toilets, sweeping the prisons etc. are assigned to the persons from lowest echelons in the society irrespective of the nature of the offence committed.”
“We are of the firm view that no under trial prisoner can be assigned such duties in a prison“, said the Court.
The matter of caste based menial jobs in prison will be further heard on 04th January 2021.
Read the Order: