Going to jail is something that strikes dread into the heart of most law abiding people. But if you've earned your spot in the VIP category, jail is just a temporary stay away from home with a few inconveniences thrown in to gently remind you of where you are.
The amenities that former Punjab CM Bibi Jagir Kaur has received after reaching jail have caused an uproar. Kaur was convicted to five years imprisonment after being found guilty of wrongfully confining and subsequently forcing her daughter to undergo an abortion.
Among these facilities are a 32-inch television screen and a cable network connection that have been installed in Kaur's prison, ostensibly for her to enjoy her favourite programmes while in jail, the Indian Express reported.
And the best part is she may not have to fight for the remote control since she could have the television to herself and not have to share it with other inmates.
Kaur also reportedly has free access to her mobile phone and her relatives. After a visit to the gurdwara every morning, the former minister is reportedly to be found in the visitors room where she has been meeting former colleagues.
The reports of preferential treatment for preferential convicts is hardly new. Vikas Yadav, son of politician DP Yadav and in jail for the murder of Nitish Katara, spent a lot of his prison time in a hospital. He also managed an outing for a night for Diwali and two policemen who allowed him to step out were subsequently suspended.
An examination by doctors also revealed that he didn't have any medical problems that required hospitalisation.
Manu Sharma, convicted of the murder of model Jessica Lal, had also been found partying in 2009 after being granted parole by a court to attend his grandmother's funeral and see his ailing mother.It didn't hurt that his father happened to be Congress leader Vinod Sharma.
And you don't just have to be politically connected to get access to privileges. Sometimes even having a impressive crime record helps. In Mumbai, gangsters like Arun Gawli and others have frequently been accused of getting priveleges when they appear in court and even in jail thanks to staff that choose to turn a blind eye.
Indian jails aren't as comfortable if you're not a VIP though. Overcrowding, squalid conditions, overworked and corrupt jail staff are just some of the complaints that most convicts complain of. Courts abroad have asked about the condition of jails here and at times, like in the case of Purulia arms drop accused Kim Davies, denied the custody of persons purely because of it.
For a system that preaches equal justice for all, surely the extent of punishment should be the same and not decided purely by money or social standing.
Updated Date: Apr 03, 2012 12:46:55 IST