Overcrowding in jails is connected to the “performance of courts”, the Supreme Court observed Wednesday and said it will pass directions to deal with the issue affecting 1,341 prisons in the country which house 4.68 lakh inmates as against the sanctioned strength of 3.83 lakh.
A bench, headed by Chief Justice S A Bobde, said it will also pass direction to effectively deal with the problem of shortage of staffers in jails “which are on an average 30 to 40 per cent” of sanctioned strength. The problem was “connected to the performance of the courts and will have to be tackled”, the bench said, taking note of issue of overcrowding in prisons.
The top court asked the Centre, represented by Additional Solicitor General A N S Nadkarni, to take instructions and apprise it as to how they are going to address the immediate concerns of filling up vacancies in jails and over-crowding in them as highlighted by the prison reforms committee headed by former apex court judge Justice Amitava Roy.
“We will pass orders after two weeks on the issues of overcrowding in jails and filling up of vacancies,” said the bench, also comprising Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, as the law officer sought time for taking instructions.