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[Delhi Riots] Gulfisha Fatima's Allegations Of Harassment By Tihar Jail Staff: Delhi Court Directs Superintendent To Change Staff If Required

Sparsh Upadhyay
6 Nov 2020 7:52 AM GMT
[Delhi Riots] Gulfisha Fatimas Allegations Of Harassment By Tihar Jail Staff: Delhi Court Directs Superintendent To Change Staff If Required
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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...

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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"

Allegations

It was submitted by the counsel for the Accused/Applicant Gulfisha Khatoon that the accused is in Judicial Custody since 11.04.2020 and she was subjected to harassment by the jail authorities.

It was alleged that derogatory terms were used for her by the jail staff, which caused her mental and emotional harassment.

Thus, it was prayed that jail authorities may be directed not to harass the accused and action be taken against them.

Status report filed by Jail Superintendent, Tihar Jail

In this context, a status report was filed by the Jail Superintendent, Tihar Jail stating that various requests of the applicant were considered from time to time as per jail rules.

It was stated in the report that

"Various requests like the change of brand of milk, a headphone for the legal interview, study room etc. were made and duly considered. The applicant had made a complaint about the discrimination by jail staff and after making inquiry it was found that there was an argument between the applicant and the jail staff over the issue of going inside the jail ward after 6.30 pm as per rules."

The report further stated that no derogatory words as mentioned in the application were made and two other inmates, who were present there, have given their statements in this regard.

It was also stated in the report that there are 48 Muslim female inmates as on 15.10.2020 and no other inmate has ever made such kind of complaint.

Notably, the Report stated,

"The applicant/female inmate is also trying to overpower the jail staff and create nuisance in jail. Her behaviour is aggressive and troublesome. The staff has also been directed to behave politely and not to argue with other inmates. The applicant has also been given correctional punishments to mend her behaviour."

Court's order

After perusing the application, report and hearing the arguments, the Court noted that there were some arguments between jail staff and an accused/applicant.

"It is a version of the applicant vs the version of the jail staff. The concerned Jail Superintendent has conducted an inquiry", remarked the Court.

As stated earlier, the Court ordered,

"I deem it fit 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."

It may be noted that student activist Gulfisha Fatima has been arrested under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

In September, Gulfisha Fatima, had alleged before a Delhi court that she was being subjected to communal slurs and mental harassment by jail authorities.

Fatima had alleged that she was being discriminated against by the staff in the jail.

"I have a problem in jail. Ever since I was brought here I have been constantly facing discrimination by the jail staff. They called me an educated terrorist and are hurling communal slurs at me. I am facing mental harassment here. If I hurt myself, only jail authorities will be responsible for it", she alleged.

On Monday (19th October) Karkardooma Court (Delhi) had dismissed her application seeking statutory bail in a case related to the communal violence which took place in North-East Delhi in February 2020.

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