As many as 19 prisoners and undertrials lodged in Burail Jail in Chandigarh are enjoying B-class facilities in blatant violation of Punjab Jails Manual. These persons have been convicted for or facing charges of murder, rape, kidnap, fraud, wife-beating/spouse-murder.
The shocking revelation came through a reply received under the Right to Information Act by Punjab and Haryana high court lawyer HC Arora from the public information officer of the Burail Jail.
An analysis of the data shows that the convicts and undertrials who are enjoying Class-B facilities include seven prisoners involved in murder case, one in dowry killing, four members of a family facing charges of abetment to suicide and causing disappearance of evidence, one for attempt to murder, one for kidnapping for ransom, and one for kidnapping woman to compel her to marry, one person involved in several cases of cheque bouncing and fraud; one involved in kidnapping with an intent to secretly and wrongfully confine a person, a police official accused of gang rape, and one person involved in cruelty against woman.
Interestingly, non-habitual prisoners of good character and prisoners who by virtue of social status, education and habit are accustomed to a certain standard of living are eligible for grant of better class facilities in jails in Haryana.
However, prisoners convicted for offences involving cruelty, moral degradation or personal greed and those convicted for serious or pre-meditated violence are not eligible for such facilities in Punjab and Chandigarh prisons under provisions of Paras 576-A and 576-B of Punjab Jail Manual.
“A perusal of the particulars of offences, for which the 19 prisoners/undertrials are enjoying better class facilities in Burail jail, Chandigarh, indicates that murder, or rape is not being treated as acts of serious violence or of moral degradation by the jail authorities for granting better class facilities to prisoners/undertrials at the model jail in Chandigarh,” Arora said.
“Even persons facing charges of cheating/violence against women, kidnapping, gang rape by a police official are extended Class-B facilities in this jail, which are apparently acts of moral degradation,” he added.
What are B-class facilities?
Those availing of such facilities generally cook food separately, or eat home-cooked food; get more newspapers and magazines; get more visitors; wear own clothes rather than such worn by ordinary prisoners; exemption from hard jobs (mushakkat); and beddings.