The Kerala High Court has directed the State to explore the possibility of providing sufficient space for the Advocates and prisoners to interact in Jails. The Court also noted that privacy should also be taken care of by the State.

The bench of Chief Justice S. Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly was dealing with a plea seeking direction to the State to provide adequate and necessary facilities for holding meetings of prisoners and their legal counsel in a private and secure environment in the jails of Kerala.

The petitioner, a practicing advocate, stated that there was no privacy for advocate-client interviews as provided under the prison statutes.

The petitioner had submitted that Section 40 of The Prison Act, 1894, Section 47 of The Kerala Prisons and Correctional Services (Management) Act, 2010 and Rule 827 (2) of the Kerala Prisons and Correctional Services (Management) Rules, 2014 mandate that privacy should be given to the counsel and his client while taking instructions.

The petitioner argued that there is no privacy while consulting with the client as the meeting place provided is right next to the jail warden, who is always near the client listening to all the conversations. It was further submitted that there are also other persons who can hear the conversation between the petitioner and client.

Senior Government Pleader Tek Chand V appeared for the State.

On perusing the report submitted by the District Legal Services Authority, Ernakulam, the Court noted that one table and two chairs are laid for discussion of inmates of the jail with the lawyers, and it was mainly observed that the room of the Jail Welfare Officer is not beyond the earshot where the table and chairs are laid.

In the above circumstances, the Court directed thus "…we direct the respondents to explore the possibility of providing sufficient space, if required, to adopt the rough sketch submitted by the District Legal Services Authority and issue appropriate directions."

Cause Title- Prasoon Sunny v. State of Kerala & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Judgment