June 25 2021, the Allahabad High Court addressed a plea concerning prisoner's rights in the jail premises of UP. The counsel, representing the State Government, submitted that all the communication between the inmates and the outside world would be monitored and recorded for security and safety purposes. The High Powered Committee recommended the Monitoring/Recording of such communication.
A plea moved by two UTPs before the division bench of Justice Devendra Kumar Upadhyaya and Justice Ajai Kumar Srivastava. They sought to interact with their family members and issue a direction to the government to provide them with suitable means to contact their family members through video calling or phone calls. These UTPs are currently locked up in the district jail of Lucknow, confronting the charges for the offences under UAPA, Arms Act, Explosive Substances Act and Indian Penal Code.
Additional Government Advocate notified the High Court that as per the Supreme Court Guideline in Re: Contagion of COVID19 virus in prisons, a High Powered Committee, headed by the Executive Chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh State Legal Services Authority was constituted. He also told the High Court that prioritizing safety and security requires monitoring and recording the conversation between the inmates and the outside world. He mentioned the decisions of the High Powered Committee dated June 9 2021, which stated the same. The bench noted this decision and pointed out that recording would enable genuine communication. AGA also submitted that meeting with the advocates/legal advisors would only be possible if the superintendent allows it.
The High Court noted the two major issues of the prisoners- first, concerning the intercommunication of inmates with advocates and second, with the family members.
While dealing with the first issue court allowed the advocates/legal advisors of the petitioners to submit an appropriate application as per paragraphs 697 to 708 of the UP Jail Manual.
"Once an application for an interview by a Legal Advisor of the prisoner is filed, the Superintendent of Jail should take a decision and record his satisfaction as required by the provisions contained in paragraph 457-D of UP Jail Manual."
Concerning the second issue, the High Court permitted telephonic communication as per the guidelines and only verified phone numbers should be allowed for such interaction.