Taking suo moto cognizance of a research paper, Rajasthan High Court asked the state government to ensure that the prisoners are not forced to do menial jobs like cleaning toilets and sweeping on the basis of their caste. The court also stated that such jobs should not be assigned to the undertrials.
Rajasthan High Court took the suo moto cognizance of a research paper published by a voluntary organization, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
The court has scheduled the next date of hearing on February 4 and sought the state government’s explanation on the steps taken for the overhauling of the prison manual.
A division bench of Justice Sandeep Mehta and Justice Devendra Kachhawaha expressed their displeasure and stated that it is shocking the prison manual, which was a gift of the British rule, is still being followed by the prison authorities.
The bench also recommended the Rajasthan government to consider the installation of automated toilet cleaning facilities.
The voluntary organization, CHRI highlighted in its report that every person who enters a prison is asked about his caste and once identified, ‘menial jobs’ like cleaning toilets and sweeping are assigned to them, irrespective of the crime for which they are arrested.
“The arrangement was clear those at the bottom of the caste pyramid did the cleaning work; those high above handled the kitchen or the legal documentation department. And the rich and influential did nothing; they only threw their weight around. These arrangements had nothing to do with crime that one was arrested for or his conduct in prison. Sab kuch jaati ke aadhar par tha (it is all based on caste,” the report said.