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Foreign National Prisoners

  • Category
    Society
  • Published
    20th Aug, 2019

Delhi High court has ordered arrangement for ‘speediest communication’ based on amicus curiae report stating that 75% of them struggle to gain access to their embassy

Context

Delhi High court has ordered arrangement for ‘speediest communication’ based on amicus curiae report stating that 75% of them struggle to gain access to their embassy

About

Foreign National Prisoner (FNPs)

  • FNPs refer to prisoners who do not carry the passport of the country in which they are imprisoned.
  • They are entitled to the basic minimum guarantees as enshrined and carefully set out in the Constitution of India.
  • As per Prison Statistics of India 2015, there are 6,185 FNPs in India.

Problems faced by them

  • A common grievance among the FNPs is that many a time their consulate officer don’t come and they have no one to connect them with their family back home.
  • 90% of the foreign prisoners face difficulty in securing bail merely because of their special status while Indian prisoners are able to secure bail more easily even if they have committed the same off
  • During trial they did not understand the proceedings due to difference in l In such a situation,
  • Although the jail manuals contain provisions for facilitating contact with family for other prisoners, the same provisions either do not extend to FNPs or are too cumbersome to follow.
  • The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) report had stated that only 5.7% of FNPs in India — 222 out of 3,908 — have ever received consular access.

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 is an international treaty that defines a framework for consular relations between independent states.
  • A consul performs two functions: protecting in the host country the interests of their countrymen, and furthering the relations between the two states.
  • Consular and Diplomat work out of the same premises, and under this treaty they are afforded most of the same privileges.
  • Immunity given to consular is similar to diplomat. The treaty has been ratified by 179 states.

Conclusion

FNPs by virtue of their peculiar status are to be treated with care and caution to avoid any possible discrimination that they may be subjected to during their time in prison. Ministry of External Affairs should request the consulates to visit their nationals and enable them to discharge their duties under Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

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