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NHRC notice to Uttar Pradesh government on chained prisoner

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh government seeking its response within six weeks after an 84-year-old ailing prisoner was chained to a hospital bed in Etah district last month.

The NHRC notice said, “Keeping such old and sick prisoner in jail is an indication that the Sentence Review Board is bad in the state.”

On May 13, a picture of Baburam Balram Singh went viral on social media platforms, in which a frail elderly man was shown lying on a hospital bed. He was having trouble breathing. He was kept chained.
Singh was found tied to hospital beds in the non-COVID-19 ward of the hospital.

After this, Director General (Prisons) Anand Kumar suspended the jail warden and ordered an inquiry.
Though it was earlier reported that the prisoner was 84 years old, the NHRC has given his age as 92 years based on the complaint.

The NHRC’s notice sent to the Chief Secretary of UP has sought a report on when the last meeting of the Sentence Review Board was held, how many cases are pending with it and in how many cases the punishment has been reduced in 2020 and 2019.

The NHRC has also asked the UP chief secretary in its report to explain the system followed in jails for referring cases to the board.

The Commission observed that under Section 433 of the CrPC and the Prison Rules, the government is empowered to commute the sentence through the Board. The functioning of the Board should be reformed to protect the human rights of prisoners and decongest the prisons to relieve the government from the burden of caring for such aged and sick prisoners.