The Punjab and Haryana High Court has passed a series of mandatory directions to ensure that the prisons function properly and that humane living conditions are provided to the cell inmates in the State.
The interim order has been made in a petition filed by one Dr. Swarandeep Singh, who came across grave irregularities in the functioning of jails, during his visits to the Central Jail, Ludhiana. Singh had requested for an independent probe into the functioning of jails in the State of Punjab and to provide basic amenities to Jail inmates, such as adequate medical aid, proper food to eat, etc.
Singh had alleged:
In view thereof and based on the suggestions given by a Special Investigation Team, constituted by the State government to look into the grievances raised by the Petitioner, the bench of Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu directed the State to:
The Petitioner had also alleged that any inmate, who spoke against the jail authorities, was tortured and rendered quiet. In this regard, the court said that in case of physical violence /torture, inmates could send communication by any mode to the Registrar General of the high court. It further directed the state to,
"Ensure that no inmate in the jail suffers physical or mental torture. The Superintendent of Jail/ Deputy Superintendent of Jail shall be personally responsible for the safety of inmates in the jail. The Secretary, Legal Services Authority, Punjab, shall visit every jail in the State of Punjab fortnightly, to ensure that no jail inmate is tortured by the jail authorities…"
Allegedly, the Petitioner had even been attacked by certain prisoners. In this behalf, the state informed that an FIR had been registered against suspected prisoners and the proceedings thereof were pending.
Further, as per the Affidavit filed by State, the following steps had also been taken to ensure proper functioning of jails:
The matter will next be taken up on February 12, 2020.
[Read Order Here]