The Madras High Court has sought the response of State in a plea seeking directions towards setting up prison library for prisoners in Southern Parts of Tamil Nadu.

The bench of Justice R. Mahadevan and Justice J. Sathya Narayana Prasad ordered thus "Considering the importance of the prayer in this writ petition, we direct the respondents to file a detailed counter affidavit for passing further orders."

A practicing Advocate had approached the High Court seeking directions to maintain library and digital library in every Central Prison, Special Prison for Women, District Jail, Borstal School, Open Air Prison, Juvenile home, Sub-Jails for Men and Women in Southern Parts of Tamil Nadu.

The Counsel for the petitioner stated that the petitioner had sent a detailed representation to the State to establish and maintain library in every prison in Tamil Nadu, but no action was taken.

Thus, the petitioner had approached the High Court.

The counsel for the petitioner submitted that an empty mind is the devil's workshop.

It was submitted that if the prisoners are fully occupied, then they will never have time to think of their previous life or time to discuss with others.

The petitioner stated that during day time, prisoners are engaged in the works, and in the night time, they think of their family and the mistakes they have done which will make them asleep or become depressed.

It was submitted that to avoid it, most of them will spend their night by reading books.

The counsel further submitted that as per National Crime Records Bureau's data the capacity of Prisons in Tamil Nadu is 22792 inmates, while the average number of inmates is 13,969 including 601 women and 112 foreign nationals.

It was further added that a majority of the inmates are under-trials, accounting 56.9% of total inmates.

The counsel for the petitioner stated that Libraries in the prisons are the classrooms that would teach the inmates these values. It was further added that the right of prisoners to access education, including the use of prison library services, is frequently overlooked, or disregarded.

The Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that the right for prisoners to have access to a prison library is also reflected in the authoritative frameworks of the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also called the Nelson Mandela Rules.

The Court has directed the State to file a detailed counter-affidavit in this regard.

Cause Title- W.P(MD)No.27463 of 2022

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