Jaipur Central Prison: 31 January 2016
For the first time in the prison history of the country, prisoners, both undertrials and convicts, of Rajasthan’s Central Jail of Jaipur are now given access to all important information pertaining to their lives inside prison through the use of E-History Tickets. Under the aegis of the new Director General of Prisons, Ajit Singh, and the Administrative Judge of the Rajasthan High Court, Chairperson of the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi, the promise of the history ticket mentioned under Part 17 of the Rajasthan Prison Rules, 1951 will now become a reality.
With the ‘Computerised’ History Ticket, the Rajasthan Prison Department takes the lead in generating special benefits for both prisoners and prison staff. Computers fitted with Prison Management Software (PMS), developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), allow prisoners to access their important information and to receive printed updates periodicially as well. These computers were inaugurated on 31 January 2016 inside Jaipur Central Jail, where the Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi, Chairperson, State Legal Services Authority, was the Chief Guest at the event.
The Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi stated that "E-history ticket is the best technical utility for the inmates which will help them to safeguard their rights and interests. We, at Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority are bound to give every possible legal aid to the inmates."
Every prisoner, as long as he remains in confinement, has the right to have in his possession the means to know and recall important dates and events pertaining to entry and exit from custody, progress of cases, treatment in jail, medical records, interviews and meetings, and punishments and rewards. This is made possible through the Prisoner History Ticket. Sh. Shashikant Sharma from National Informatics Centre, Delhi, gave a demonstration to the Chief Guest and other functionaries of the SLSA on the functioning of the computer terminals and the e-history ticket for prisons. Members of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) who have assisted in the process of making history tickets a reality in prisons were also present to mark this significant event.
The date of arrest, first production, chargesheet filing and legal representation are some of the basic morsels of information that must be fed into the history ticket by virtue of a person’s right to be informed about the status and proceeding of his own case. Duly filled history tickets will assist the prison authorities immensely to manage the records of the large number of inmatesin prisons. It will also help keep a track on effective realisation of prison rules and mechanisms statutorily provided for the benefit of inmates. It will assist the judiciary to monitor non-production of the prisoner in court, legal representation, oversee the progress of a case and to ensure the overall well-being of persons detained in their custody. It will aid the undertrial review committee, which reviews undertrial detention, with accurate dates and status to decide upon eligibility for release.
The Director General of Rajasthan Prisons, Ajit Singh, explained that “With the help of e-history the inmate through the computer will enter his inmate number, will go for the biometric verification through thumb and would be able to access every important information relating to him. E-history will enable him to know his next date of appearing in the court, or if police filed a chargesheet against him, details on his punishment, how and when can he avail the benefit of parole, when will he complete his sentence, and if he is eligible to get some relaxation in his punishment. This will also bring transparency, as inmates would be able to see through the computer database to know whatever they wish to know relating to their case. Jail administration will have to keep every record of the inmates.”
The E-History Ticket will reduce the manual workload of prison staff. Through the Hindi language tool in the PMS, it will enable self-reading by literate prisoners or as assisted by convict officers of the prison department. The availability of a printed history ticket on request with all or selected fields of information and on-system verification of the information will keep prisoners more updated than before about their court dates, details of legal assistance, medical treatment, work details, remission and release information.
CHRI’s Director, Maja Daruwala, believes “This is an experiment which we have had the honour to assist the jail authorities and legal services authority with. Technology has made it easier to ensure prisoners have vital information with them as is required by the prison rules. The jail authorities and we ourselves will be watching carefully to see if the revitalization of history tickets works well – and we earnestly hope it does – so that it can go to other jails across Rajasthan and be a torch-bearer for other states.”
This is an important step to increasing access to basic rights and transparency for prisoners in Rajasthan, and can be an important example to follow for other states throughout India.
For more, contact Sugandha Mathur at email@example.com