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[Delhi Riots] Accused Allege Tihar Jail Authorities Denying Basic Facilities: Delhi Court Warns Of Jail Inspection

Sparsh Upadhyay
6 Nov 2020 2:03 PM GMT
[Delhi Riots] Accused Allege Tihar Jail Authorities Denying Basic Facilities: Delhi Court Warns Of Jail Inspection
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After several of the Delhi riots accused complained that they have not been provided with basic amenities/facilities by Tihar Jail Authorities, the Karkardooma Court (Presided by ASJ Amitabh Rawat) on Tuesday (03rd November) warned the Jail Authorities that it would conduct a physical inspection if the grievances or the issues of the Accused are not resolved by the next date.The...

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After several of the Delhi riots accused complained that they have not been provided with basic amenities/facilities by Tihar Jail Authorities, the Karkardooma Court (Presided by ASJ Amitabh Rawat) on Tuesday (03rd November) warned the Jail Authorities that it would conduct a physical inspection if the grievances or the issues of the Accused are not resolved by the next date.

The Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat, in its order, said,

"In case, the grievances or the issues are still not resolved by next date, the Court will be compelled to take stock of the situation by the undersigned visiting the jail complex himself along with Ld. Prosecutor and Ld. defence counsel."

This remark came by the Court after several accused in a North-East Delhi riots case complained and submitted before the Court that they were being denied warm clothes, access to medicines amid COVID outbreak and other basic facilities in the jail

As per a report of Scroll.in, Judge Rawat said "There has to be an end to this. For these small things, the accused cannot run from pillar to post, it makes no sense. I am directing the director-general of Tihar Jail to take stock and depute somebody who can take a call, and if things don't improve, I will go for a physical inspection."

Complaints raised by the Accused

While appearing before the Court through video conferencing, almost all the accused persons, as well as their counsels, complained about the various aspects of denial of certain clothing, medicines or otherwise permissible things, by the Jail Administration, as per the Jail rules.

Significantly, different accused persons highlighted their grievances, discrimination and their inability at the time to get in touch with their counsels or their family members.

As reported by PTI, 7 of the 15 accused said they have not been given warm clothes, though it is permitted under the prison rules, and the prison authorities said they needed a Court order for this.

The counsel for former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan, one of the accused, said she had asked to be allowed a pair of slippers from her home as those supplied by the jail authorities were slippery and she was severely injured due to it, but they denied her that too.

When her parents went to jail yesterday with warm clothes for her the jail authorities did not permit it, Jahan's lawyer said.

Another accused Athar Khan claimed that while two of the inmates have been hospitalised, few have also been isolated after they showed symptoms of COVID-19 and there were no health facilities.

Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha alleged he was facing discrimination from the jail authorities and was not allowed to meet his family members for the past few months.

Advocate Sowjhanya Shankaran, appearing for Tanha, said the jail officials even denied giving him a copy of the order by which his bail was rejected.

Court's Order

Having heard the Complaints of the Accused, the Court said,

"Since the court is constantly receiving complaints from accused persons in judicial custody and also their counsels, who have been moving successive applications to the court for directions to the Jail Superintendent, it appears that there are some issues regarding the administration of Jail complex as the applications for these accused persons have been made for basic, important but avoidable issues/grievances."

The Court observed that various orders have been passed in the past for the Jail Superintendent to consider the grievances of the accused persons lodged in their jail.

The Court also noted,

"The presence of the concerned Jail Superintendent might not be helpful as he is responsible for only one jail whereas the grievances seem to be running through all the jails."

The Court further remarked,

"The Court is fully aware that the entitlement of the accused persons can only be in terms of jail rules; however, again in view of the constant grievances as raised by the counsels and accused persons from time to time, this court is inclined to pass directions to the Director General (Prison) to take stock of the situation and ensure that all the issues/problems flagged by the counsel or the accused persons are heard, apprised and disposed of."

The Court also directed that the officer not below the rank of Additional Director General (Prisons) shall appear on the next date of hearing.

Lastly, the Court directed that all the accused persons be produced through Webex on the said date by the concerned Jail Superintendent for next date i.e. 23.11.2020.

It may be noted that The Karkardooma Court (Delhi) on Thursday (05th November) directed the Tihar Jail Superintendent to change the staff, if required, against whom Accused/Applicant and Student Activist Gulfisha Fatima had raised an allegation of mental harassment.

The Additional Sessions Judge, Karkardooma Court Amitabh Rawat observed,

"In the facts of the case, I deem it fit, without getting into the allegations/denial of allegations, to instruct the Jail Superintendent to ensure that if need be, to change the ward of the applicant or change the staff on duty or other steps that he deems fit to avoid any confrontation"

[With PTI inputs]

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