Anoushka Mehta

Anoushka Mehta is currently a penultimate year law student (B.A., LL.B) (Hons.) at Maharashtra National Law University Mumbai. She is a reviewer at Economic & Political Weekly and is also pursuing a Diploma in Advanced Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She aims to write on legal issues alongside working in the area of corporate law.

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Revise Wages Paid to Prisoners: Rajasthan HC Tells State Government

Non-implementation of this revision would qualify as a contravention of Supreme Court guidelines in this regard

Rajasthan HC compelled to act in accordance with prevailing legislative exercises on wages

The Rajasthan High Court has ordered that wages paid to the prisoner for the last five years have to be revised as per the provisions of Rule 31 of the Rajasthan Prison Rules, 1951. Non-implementation of this revision would amount to a violation of the provisions and would qualify as a contravention of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India in this regard. The Division Bench comprising of Justice Rameshwar Vyas and Justice Sangeeta Lodha opined, “while considering the quantum of wages payable to the prisoners we are persuaded to take into account the contemporary legislative exercises on wages.”

As per the provision of Rule 31(1) of Part XII of the prison rules of 1951, the prisoners who have worked as labourers in the prison are entitled to the wages as fixed by the Government from time to time after deduction of the expense on clothing, food, and other maintenance items. These wages are to be paid based on actual work completed for the prescribed task. Moreover, the rules also state that, out of the amount to be paid to the prisoners, 75% of it is to be given to the prisoner while 25% to the victims or the victim’s beneficiary.

Rajasthan HC directs the formation of a committee to evaluate the quantum of equitable pay

The Rajasthan State Government has been directed to revise the wages to be paid to the prisoners as per the provisions of Rule 31 of 1951 Rules.

The Court directed the constitution of a committee to evaluate the quantum of equitable wages to be paid to the prisoners within a stipulated period of two weeks from now. This Committee would make recommendations and the State Government would come to a decision taking into consideration the recommendations of the Committee.

State has been given 3 months to revise the wages of prisioners

The HC further instructed that until the State Government makes a decision, the prisoners would be paid wages as per the work done by them following the current rates prescribed by the State. The Bench also observed that the Court cannot disregard any inaction on the part of the State in revising the wages to be paid to the prisoners for their labour. A period of three months has been given to the State Government to file a compliance report on this issue.

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