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SUNIL BATRA v.

DELHI ADMINISTRATION,
AIR 1980 SC 1579

FACTS OF THE CASE SUNIL BATRA • death sentence by Sessions Court • appeal still lies • subject to solitary confinement CHARLES SOBRAJ • ordered detention • put in bar fetters • fetters were retained continuously for 24 hours a day .

(2) Every such prisoner. (1) Every prisoner under sentence of death shall. . or by order of. the Deputy Superintendent. be searched by. immediately on his arrival in the prison after sentence. and shall be placed by day and by night under charge of a guard. shall be confined in a cell apart from all other prisoners. and all articles shall be taken from him which the Deputy Superintendent deems it dangerous or inexpedient to leave in his possession.Issue raised • Challenged the vires of section 30 of prisoners act. 30.

.Arguments of respondents • State of mind of such prisoners • may indulge in harming themselves or any other criminal activity in their voluntary discretion or be harmed by any other prisoner. • can connive with such prisoners and may thereby succeed in getting some instrument by which he may commit suicide or may be enabled to escape from the jail.

. they will always be on the look out for an opportunity to overpower the watch and ward guard. and make attempt to escape • If mixed up with other categories of prisoners then the superintendence and management of jails will be greatly jeopardised.• a prisoner under sentence of death has a very harmful influence on the other prisoners. • As they are highly frustrated lot.

ISSUES • Whether Section 30 contemplates solitary confinement for condemned prisoners. • whether such total seclusion. if it does condemn the death sentencees to dismal solitude . even if covered by Section 30(2) is the correct construction of the provision • whether we have to pronounce upon the vires of Section 30(2).

.Meaning of solitary confinement • Segregation of one person all alone in a single cell is solitary confinement • Court alone can impose • This meaning cannot be given to 30(2).different meaning. ‘confined in a cell’. • the separation is authorised. but within the same cell.

The Superintendent may examine any person touching any such offence. keeping apart without close confinement. Section 30(2) . and allows him not less than one hour's exercise per diem and to have his meals in association with one or more other prisoners. and determine thereupon and punish such offence by(8) separate confinement for any period not exceeding three months. but not from sight of other prisoners. . Explanation :-Separate confinement means such confinement with or without labour as secludes a prisoner from communication with. (10) cellular confinement for any period not exceeding fourteen days.46.separation without isolation.

366(2).keeping Trusteeship No scope for deprivation and isolation 2 elements of 32(2) • Seclusion • Watch by guards . • • • • Guest in custody Safe.The Court passing the sentence shall commit the convicted person to jail custody under a warrant.

postponement of sentence.sessions court submits the case to the HC • 134c/ 136.HC gives certificate • 415.president/ governor can grant pardon . • 72 /161. in case of appeal.Is Batra under sentence of death • 366.

but Batra cant be subjected to solitary confinement.no substitute for imprisonment • 30 is intra-vires.Conclusion • Solitary confinement NOT AT ALL sanctioned by 30(2) • 30(2). .

he may. Whenever the Superintendent considers it necessary for the safe custody of any prisoners that they should be confined in irons.ISSUE RAISED Constitutionality of 56 56. subject to such rules and instructions as may be laid down by the Inspector General with the sanction of the State Government so confine them. .

• Reasons furnished + recorded (suitable language) • Brief periods and frequent scrutiny (not more than 3 months and nocturnal fetters illegal) • Visitors of jail (external examinators) . Requirements of 56 • Safe custody ALONE (escaping tendencies) • Necessity to confine (opinion of SP) Intelligent care Not just desirable.Arguments of respondents • Preventive medicine for 'dangerousness' • to inhibit violence and escape. but NECESSARY.

• (v) the basic condition of dangerousness must be well grounded and recorded. • (ii) special reasons why no other alternative but fetters alone • (iii) record of those reasons • (iv) such record must be full and documented both in the journal of the Superintendent and the history ticket of the prisoner. .• (i) absolute necessity for fetters. This latter should be in the language of the prisoner so that he may have communication and recourse to redress.

• (vi) objective assessment of facts (relevance to safe custody) • (vii) the fetters shall be removed at the earliest opportunity. . • (vii) there shall be a daily review of the absolute need for the fetters. • (viii) if it is found that the fetters must continue beyond a day it shall be held illegal unless an outside agency like the District Magistrate or Sessions Judge. directs its continuance. on materials placed.

then iron fetters permissable. but ONLY if no alternatives • Burden on proof. . • Sobraj. locomotion allowed.CONCLUSION • Undertrials: relaxed conditions than convicts • If violence.fetters to be removed.