The Bombay High Court has upheld the decision of a sessions court in Latur to allow home food to be served to an under-trial currently lodged at Latur jail.
Justice AM Dhavale of Aurangabad bench had dismissed the appeal against the order of the 2nd additional Sessions judge in Latur filed by Maharashtra.
Additional Public Prosecutor RV Dasalkar opposed the order and submitted that the accused was facing serious charges like murder, kidnapping and gang-rape, and that under the provisions of the Prisons Act, 1984, home food was not allowed and the decision could only be taken by the jail authorities.
Justice Dhavale noted that the Sessions judge was satisfied on the issue that the under-trial had health problems and observed that he had undergone two angioplasties and was suffering from breathlessness and spinal problems.
“Since every accused person is presumed to be innocent person till he is held guilty, the seriousness of the allegations against the petitioner cannot be a ground to deny him the facilities available to all the under-trial prisoners unless there are special reasons for denying so,” the court said.
It noted that the argument of allowing home food being in violation of sections 31 and 32 of the Prisons Act was also rejected by the Sessions judge, who reasoned that there were pronouncements by both the high court and the Supreme Court about permitting home food in prison.
Thereafter, Justice Dhavale cited the judgment of the principal bench of the high court in Asgar Yusuf Mukadam and others vs State of Maharashtra and Another, wherein it was stated: “Whenever an application is filed by an undertrial prisoner for grant of facility for home food, the Magistrate will have power to pass an appropriate order on such application after hearing the authorities and giving reasons for grant of such facility to such person. This power is implicit in the power to order detention or continuation of detention of the accused in custody either at the time of investigation or on filing of the charge sheet on conclusion of the investigation and till the disposal of the trial.”
Thus, the court concluded that the Sessions judge was within his jurisdiction to permit home food after being satisfied about the under-trial’s health condition and dismissed the petition in limine.