In an order delivered on Tuesday (20th October), the Allahabad High Court made it clear that a prisoner isn't entitled to phone facility in Jail.
The Bench of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi and Justice Saroj Yadav was hearing a writ petition wherein the petitioner (Mohan Singh) had requested the Court to provide him a phone facility in jail.
Specifically, the writ petition was filed with the following prayer:
"It is most respectfully prayed that this Hon'ble Court may graciously be pleased to:-
(i) Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus to direct the respondent no. 1 to release the petitioner on parole for three months and/or
(ii) Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus to direct the respondent no. 1 to provide a jail phone facility to the petitioner during the pandemic situation of Covid-19 because due to the countrywide lockdown the family members are unable to visit and meet the petitioner and/or Pass such other and further order/orders as may deem fit and proper in the interest of justice."
To this, the Court made it clear that a prisoner isn't entitled to phone facility in Jail while observing,
"Now there is no Lockdown due to COVID-19 Pandemic and the petitioner is even otherwise not entitled to get any phone facility in the jail, as such, the relief claimed in this regard is not tenable in the eyes of law, it is rejected." (emphasis supplied)
In response to the prayer of mandamus to direct the respondent no. 1 to release the petitioner on parole for three months, the Court was of the considered view that,
"Such relief in the writ jurisdiction cannot be granted, particularly when the petitioner has not applied for the parole before the appropriate forum."
The writ petition being misconceived was accordingly dismissed.
Notably, a full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is set to consider the entitlement of prisoners who are "detected of using cell phone or in possession of cell phone/SIM card inside the jail premises" to parole or furlough.
Click Here To Download Order