Lucknow, August 24: Inmate Sunder Lal was arrested a couple years back. As the days passed, he lost the count of the years he had been staying inside the prison. Recently, Lal, using his Right to Information Act, wrote to the state Prison Department asking about the number of years he was behind bars.

Inmate Avinash Shukla, who was held for a murder case, asked about the sections of IPC he was booked

For the first time, with the help of Right to Information Act, inmates at different prisons of the state have inquired about their term status, section they have been booked, status of state prisons, jail officials and other details.

Officials said with the involvement of inmates, the communication gap between the inmates and officials will bridge and that would bring in transparency in their work.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Lucknow District Jail Jailor R P Singh said, “Interestingly, the inmates have asked various questions like their term, jail officials etc. We have prepared a record book, in which the queries are noted down. Then it is passed to the concerned official. We try to provide the information as soon as possible.”

Advocate Rohit Kant said that “it is a positive sign that inmates are getting aware of their rights and are using the Right to Information Act”.

Sources said though inmates can also collect the details from the court, but it seemed that they prefer more on using RTI Act.

The provisions of the act give rise to several communication issues. The public needs to be made aware of its right to seek information from the government, and the administration on its part has to be reassured that the act is pro-government in enhancing accountability and bringing people closer to governmental processes, officials in the state Jail Department said.

RTI in jail: Inmates wake up to their rights, living conditions

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