The Rajasthan High Court has decreed that as per the provisions of Rule 31 of the Rajasthan Prison Rules, 1951, wages for prisoners working in prisons for the last five years have to be revised. The court warned that non-fulfillment of this would mean a violation of the provisions and would also amount to contravention of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.
Prisoners who have worked as labourers in prison are entitled to wages as fixed by the government from time to time. This is payable to the prisoner after deducting expenses on clothing, food and other items of expenditure. This is laid out in the provision of Rule 31(1) of Part XII of the Rules of 1951.
The wages will be paid on the basis of the work done by them as directed to them. Also, out of the amount to be paid to the prisoners 75 percent will be given to them and 25 percent to the victims or his beneficiary.
The division bench of Justices Rameshwar Vyas and Sangeeta Lodha directed the state government to revise the wages in line with the decision of the Supreme Court in the State of Gujarat & Anr. Vs. Hon’ble High Court of Gujarat and as per the provisions of Rule 31 of 1951 Rules.
A committee is to be constituted in two weeks for evaluating the quantum of equitable wages to be paid to the prisoners. The committee would make recommendations and the state government would come to a decision taking into the consideration the recommendation of the committee.
The court further said that till the state government comes to a decision, the prisoners would be paid wages as per the work done by them in accordance to the rates as prescribed by the state government.
The bench stated that the court cannot overlook inaction on the part of the state in revising the wages to be paid to the prisoners for their labour.
A time period of three months has been given to the State Government to file a compliance report.