Section V––The Magistrate of the District
  1. The Magistrate of the district shall have general control over a District Jail which is not also a Central Jail, and can take into his own hands the complete control of the jail, should he consider it necessary to do so, reporting his reasons at once to the Inspector-General. The Superintendent shall have control of all details of management but shall obey all orders of the District Magistrate which are not inconsistent with Act IX of 1894, or with rules made. under it. The Superintendent will correspond direct with the Inspector-General who will communicate his orders without reference to the Magistrate. In the case of a Central Jail which is also a District Jail the control of the District Magistrate shall as regards prisoners belonging to his district, convicted or undertrial, be the same as in an ordinary District
  2. The order passed under section 11 (2) of Act IX of 1894, should, except in emergent cases in which immediate action is, in the opinion of the Magistrate, necessary, be so expressed that the Superintendent may have time to refer (if he thinks necessary) to the Inspector-General before taking action thereon.
  3. The District Magistrate shall not address any communication or order to any officer of  any jail other than the All orders issued by the District Magistrate shall be in writing and shall ordinarily be issued in the form of an entry in the Visitors’ Book (West Bengal Form No. 4980).
  4. The District Magistrate is not required to interfere in matters of detail affecting the management of a He should avoid action having a tendency to weaken the authority of the Superintendent over subordinate officers and prisoners.
  5. The Magistrate of the district shall visit the District Jail ( if not also a Central Jail ) once a week; if from any cause he is unable to visit the jail personally, he may depute the Additionai District Magistrate, or the Senior Deputy Magistrate to visit the jail. The date of the Magistrate’s order of deputation shall be quoted by the officer so deputed in the remarks made by him in the Visitors’ Minute These visits, if paid by Magistrates other than the District Magistrate, shall be in addition to such visits as the official visitors are bound to make.
  6. When the Magistrate of the district is absent on tour from headquarters, the officer in charge of the station for the time being, shall perform the duties of the Magistrate with regard to the jail, subject to any instructions which the Magistrate may give. Such officer shall append to his signature in the Visitors’ Minute Book the words “in charge of the station during the absence of the ”

Magistrate to be subject to control of lG, Prisons in matters of Jail discipline.


Arrangement during temporary absence of Superintendent.

  1. O. No. 1066- HJ of 6-4-55.
  2. P., Kolkata to perform the D. M’s function in regard to prisoners in Presidency Jail.

Medical Officer to perform the duties of Superintendent in certain circumstances.

  1. O. No. 321-TR of 19-9-1922.

Ex-officio visitors of Jails and Subjails.

  1. O. No. 2462-HJ dated 21-9-54.
  2. The Magistrate shall, in all matters affecting the discipline of jails, be subject to the control of the Inspector-General, and shall report to him all important steps which he thinks proper to
  3. If the duties of the Superintendent necessitate his absence from the station, or if for a short period of time he is unable to discharge his duties on account of illness, or for any other reasons, the Magistrate of the district shall take, temporary charge of the jail himself, or shall place in charge of it the Chief Medical Officer or District Medical Officer or if there be no Chief Medical Officer or District Medical Officer, one of his own subordinates ordinarily not below the rank a of Deputy Magistrate, and shall report the fact and the reasons for it to the Inspector-General. The officer so placed in charge during the temporory absence of the Superintendent shall exercise all the powers vested in the Superintendent.

The Magistrate of the district shall make similar arrangements for the discharge of the duties of the Superintendent during his temporary absence in a Central jail, which is also a district jail, in which there is no Deputy Superintendent.

  1. The Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, will exercise the functions of a District Magistrate in respect of prisoners in the Presidency Jail.
  2. The Medical Officer when placed in temporary charge of a jail in accordance with the above rules, shall perform the duties of the Superintendent in addition to his own duties.


  1. The following officers and such other officers as Government may, from time to time, appoint in this behalf, shall be ex-officio visitors:—
  • Of all jails and subsidiary jails in this State–– The Director of Health Services, West
  • Of all jails and subsidiary jails within the respective areas under their offical charge or within their jurisdiction—
  • The Commissioner of a Division.
  • The Magistrate or Deputy Commissioner of a district, Additional Dthisetrict  Magistrate  and  the  senior Deputy Magistrate at headquarters.
  • The District Judge.
  • The Subdivisional Magistrate.
  • The Chief Medical Officer of Health, if not also a Jail
  1. O. No.1230-HJ. of 20-4-59.

ficer.                 Of

  • The Subdivisional Health
  • The District or Assistant Inspector of
  • Of the Presidency Jail—
    • The Commissioner of Police, Kolkata.
    • The Sheriff of
    • The Chief Presidency Magistrate, Kolkata.
    • The Additional Chief Presidency Magistrate,
    • The Professor of Medical Jurisprudence, Medical College,
    • The Deputy Commissioner of Police, at Head quarters,


  • The District Inspector of Schools for the 24-Parganas.

NOTE––The Assistant Director of Health Services (Leprosy) and the Assistant Director of Health Services (Tuberculosis) shall be ex-officio visitors of the Midnapore Central Jail and the Suri Jail respectively.

  1. (1) Members of the West Bengal Legislature shall be appointed as non-official visitors, three for each Central Jail, two for each District Jail, and one for each subsidiary jail of their constituencies or within the districts in which they ordinarily If the number of members exceeds the number thus required as many members as possible, shall be appointed in rotation for one year. The appointment shall be made by the State Government ordinarily in consultation with the Commissioners of Divisions and in the case of the Presidency Jail, ordinarily, in consultation with the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata. When any such visitor ceases to be a member of the West Bengal Legislature, he shall automatically cease to be a visitor.
  • The State Government may also appoint as non-official visitors of any jail and subsidiary jail other gentlemen and ladies of position in the locality who are likely to take an interest in the welfare of the prisoners and are willing to accept this But the number of non-official visitors to be so appointed shall be limited to a maximum of eight gentlemen and four ladies for a Central Jail, five gentlemen and two ladies for a District Jail and three gentlemen and one lady for a subsidiary jail. In the case of the Presidency Jail, appointment under this clause shall be made in consultation with the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, and in the case of the other jails and subsidiary jails appointments under this clause shall be made in consultation with the Divisional Commissioner concerned.

A visitor shall be appointed under this clause for a period of two years and shall, unless his appointment has been cancelled, be eligible for re-appointment on the expiry of each term so long as he is fit and willing to serve.

Appointment of non official visitors.

Notification No. 1755-H.J. of 22.7.1965.

Cancellation of appointment of non-official visitors.

Constitution of the Board of Visitors and its functions.

  1. O. No. 92-PJ. of 9-1-30.
  1. O. No. 552-TR. of 14-9-25.
  • The State Government may, in its discretion, include members of the West Bengal Legislature among persons selected for appointment under clause (2) above.
  • The State Government may, on the recommendations of the Commissioners of Divisions or otherwise, appoint extra visitors for the specific purpose of interviewing prisoners with a view arranging after-care in suitable For the Presidency Jail such appointments may be made by the State Government on the recommendations of the Commissioner of Police, Kolkata, or otherwise. In making recommendations for such appointments the authorities concerned shall consult and give due weight to the views of any recognized Association or Society, if any, which carries on After-Care work.
  • All appointments made under clause (1) or clause (2) above shall be notified in the “Calcutta Gazette”.

NOTE––The discretion vested by clause (3) of this rule should be exercised having due regard to the claims of persons who are not members of the Legislature, but may be utilised to enable members of the Legislature, desirous of doing so, to serve as non- official visitors of jails of their constituencies for at least one year during the normal term of their membership of the Council or the Assembly.

  1. The appointment of any non-official visitor may be cancelled by the authority appointing him within the period of his term for failure to visit the jail for a continuous period of three months or non-attendance at two consecutive quarterly meetings of the Board of Visitors or for other sufficient
  2. The resident officers among the official visitors and the non-official visitors of each jail shall constitute a Board of which the District or the Subdivisional Magistrate, as the case may be, shall be ex-officio It shall be the duty of the Chairman to arrange the roster for weekly visit to the jail so as to give each resident official visitor and each non-official visitor his due turn and to send out a notice by post card, intimating whose turn it is to visit the jail in the coming week. A separate roster for lady visitors shall also be arranged by the Chairman. There should not be a fixed day of the week for these visits, but they should be paid on varying days. There should also be a quarterly meeting of the Board of Visitors on such day as the Chairman may determine. The Board should meet at the Jail, inspect all buildings and prisoners, hear any complaints and petitions that may be preferred, inspect the prisoners’ food and see that it is of good quality and properly cooked, and examine the punishment book and satisfy themselves that it is kept up to date. After making their inspection, the Board shall record the proceedings of theirquarterly meeting in the Visitors’ Minute Book before leaving the jail and the Superintendent after noting his expianations and recommendations thereon shall forward a copy of the minutes

to the Inspector-General who will submit it to Government with such observations as he may find necessary to make. Besides making visits in accordance with the roster, a visitor of the jail is authorised to visit it at any other time.

NOTES––(1 ) The Chief Presidency Magistrate, Kolkata, may depute a Presidency Magistrate to represent him at the meetings of the Board of Visitors for the Presidency Jail.

  1. O. No. 3496- HJ of 17-11-55.

(2) The proceedings of the Board in respect of Subsidiary Jails need not be submitted to Government unless the Inspector-General considers this necessary.

  1. All visitors shall sign their names in the Gate Register (No. 46) both on entering and leaving the A list of visitors shall be hung up inside the entrance gate of each jail.
  2. Visitors may call for all books, papers and records of every department of the jail, but the Superintendent may decline to produce any book, paper or record for the inspection of a non- official visitors, if for reasons to be recorded in writting he considers its production undersirable. Visitors should, if possible, visit every yard, ward, workshop and cell, except those in which detenus are confined, see every prisoner except detenus, and in every case of complaint made to them should enquire what the rules in force are, and whether these are observed or not; and they should ascertain generally whether rules and orders are adhered to. They should examine the Punishment Register and see that suitable punishments have been awarded, and that they are properly
  3. A Visitors’ Minute Book (in Register 1) shall be kept in every jail and shall be presented to every official or non-official visitor when he has completed his visit. In this book every visitor shall record the date and hour of his visit and any remarks he may desire to make. Such remarks should be limited to a statement and fair criticism of the actual facts which come to his knowledge, and to any suggestions he may wish the Superintendent or the Inspector- General to consider. The entries shall be made on the left-hand page. The Superintendent shall note the action taken by him in the column provided for the purpose and shall forward coples in half margin of all such entries in the Visitors’ Book (in West Bengal Jail Form No. 84) to the Inspector-General for such further orders as may be required; and when explanation is necessary, such explanation shall invariably accompany the copy. Whenever a visitor records the long detention of an undertrial prisoner, a copy of his remarks relating to such matter shall be forwarded to the Magistrate of the district, and, if the prisoner be under trial in the Court of Session, shall also be forwarded to the District Judge. The Inspector- General may, if necessary, forward a copy of any visitor’s remarks

to Government.

  1. O. No. 1114-
  2. of 7-4-34.

Visitors to sign in the Gate- Register.

West Bengal Forrn No. 6023.

Functions of visitors.

Visitors’ Minute Book. W.B.F. No. 4980 and W.B.F.

No. 5120, and

  1. O. No. 180-TR. of 12-5-26.

Functions of a Lady visitor. G.O.No. 1974-HJ of 1-7-55.

Access to jail of officers of other departments of Govt.

Interrogation of prisoners and taking of their photographs.

Rule 913.

Rule 670.

  1. O. No. 4482-HJ. of 9-12-38.
  2. A lady visitor shall normally visit the female prisoners and the female yard only, but she may pass through the male yard if it is necessary to do so to reach the female yard. If, however, she so desires, she may visit the male prisoners and the male
  3. The Superintending Engineer of the circle, the Executive Engineer of the division and the local Assistant Engineer and their employees actually engaged in executing public works in jails, as also the Inspector of Factories, if there is a factory in the jail shall have free access to the jail to such an extent as may be necessary for purposes connected with the discharge of their official duties, but not otherwise. Officers of the Agricultural Department shall be allowed to inspect jail dairies.
  4. The regulations relating to the routine visits of police officers to jails are contained in rule 624, but, except as provided therein, no police officer or other person shall be permitted to interrogate a prisoner without the special permission of the Inspector-General or of the Magistrate of the district or, if the prisoner be confined in the Presidency Jail, of the Commissioner of Police. This permission shall be given in the form of a written order addressed to the Superintendent or Jailor. As a rule, the police officer deputed to interrogate a prisoner should not be below the rank of a Sub- lnspector. The interview shall take place in presence of the Jailor or some other responsible officer of the jail who, however, will keep such a distance that he may not hear the In connection with opium and excise cases and also cases under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Act 2 of 1939), officers of the Excise Department, of rank not below that of Sub-lnspector, may be allowed permission to interrogate any prisoner; such permission should, in Kolkata or Alipore be granted by the Superintendent of Excise or any higher officer in the Excise Department; in the case of jails outside Kolkata, such permission, can only be granted by the Collector of the district.

NOTES–– (1 ) The Inspector attached to the Excise Intelligence Bureau, West Bengal, is permitted to enter any jail to interrogate prisoners committed under the Opium, Excise and Dangerous Drugs Acts. An assistant, for whom the Inspector of Excise will be responsible, may accompany him to help him in interrogating the prisoners.

  • The photographer of the Criminal Investigation Department, West Bengal, is permitted to enter any jail outside Kolkata and Alipore, to photograph prisoners committed under the Opium, Excise and Dangerous Drugs Acts on the authority of the Deputy Commissioner, Excise Intelligence Bureau, West
  • The photographer of the Detective Department, Kolkata Police, may be allowed into the Presidency and the Alipore Central Jails to take photographs of prisoners committed to those jails for offences under the Opium, Excise and Dangerous Drugs Entry of the photographers should be on the authority of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Detective Department, Kolkata. The Superintendent of Excise or any higher officer of the Excise Department may write to the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Detective Department, Kolkata, for taking the photographs of prisoners committed to those jails for offences under these Acts.
  1. Except as provided for in these rules no person other than such officers of Government as may be specified in this behalf, shall be admitted into any jail unless he is accompanied by, or has obtained the written permission of, the Superintendent of the jail, or the Inspector-General or, in the case of a district jail, the

NOTE—A superior officer of Government, should be an officer not below the rank of Assistant Secretary of the Home (Jails) Department.

  1. Casual visitors to jails are forbidden to speak to, or communicate in any way with, any prisoner, and jail officers are forbidden to point out prisoners to such visitors or to refer to them or their crimes. Casual visitors are also forbidden to make any sketch, or plan or any photograph of any prison or part thereof, or to take the photograph of any prisoner without the previous permission of Government.
  2. Escorts for visitors shall, in central and first, second and third class district jails, be furnished by the reserve At Central Jails the escort shall consist of four warders, and at other jails of two warders, armed with batons. At fourth class district jails the escort shall consist of one warder of the general warder staff accompanied by the head warder on duty. The escort and the officer accompanying a visitor shall withdraw out of hearing if required to do so by the visitor when he is questioning a prisoner. But no visitor, official or non-official, shall be allowed to go into the jail without an escort.
  3. The Superintendent shall be present at the quarterly meeting of the Board of Visitors and shall accompany them during their inspection of the jail.

The Jailor, if he can be spared, or the Deputy Jailor shall accompany all other visitors in order to furnish them with any information they may require.

  1. A reprint of the rules contained in this chapter shall be supplied to each official visitor and to each non-official visitor on appointment. A copy of the pamphlet containing this reprint shall be kept at the jail gate for ready reference by the official and non- official