SC to decide prisoners' wage entitlement

New Delhi: Is a prisoner performing soft labour in jail entitled to wages on par with other inmates doing hard labour?

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine this interesting question of law and sought response from the Tihar Central Jail Superintendent on a petition filed by an ex-convict Phool Kumari.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameshwar granted four weeks to the Jail Superintendent to file his reply on the issue.

Sentenced to five years RI in a criminal case, Kumari remained in the Tihar jail from March 24, 2007 to December 23, 2010, after availing remission.

She was alloted the work of assisting doctors in the OPD in Jail No 6 and was also taking care of cleanliness of medical inspection room (MI).

After release from the prison, her husband Jatan Singh filed a petition before Madhu Jain ASJ praying for wages to be released on her behalf, which was rejected by the magistrate.

On the basis of an affidavit filed by the DIG Prisons that she was not entitled to wages as Kumari did not agree to do any hard labour, the Delhi High Court dismissed her plea following which the couple appealed in the apex court.