RTI Act over-rides the jail manual
The Uttar Pradesh State Information Commission (SIC) has ruled that the Right to Information (RTI) Act has an over-riding effect on the rules laid down in the Jail Manual and a convict and under-trial can file an application under the RTI to seek information. Information Commissioner Brijesh Kumar Mishra observed that "The RTI Act is a guaranteed right under section 19 of the Indian Constitution. And, a prisoner can seek information using the guaranteed right about the facilities being made available to him in the jail."
On March 28, 2011 a convict, Gulab, had sought information from model jail, Lucknow about the facilities being extended to prisoners in the jail. The Senior Superintendent of Jails replied that the application was against the law and asked the prisoner to send his application through a rightful channel as per the UP Jail Manual instead of directly writing to him. The prisoner filed a complaint with the SIC. During the hearing before the Commission, the jail authorities maintained that there are rules laid down in the UP Jail Manual about the manner in which a prisoner can do correspondence. The SIC ruled that the RTI Act has an over-riding effect on the rules laid down in the Jail Manual and directed the superintendent of jails to provide the information to the prisoner within three weeks. The DG (Prisons) has been directed to ensure that prisoners are allowed to use their right as per the RTI Act.