Violation of prisoners' rights in Tihar under High Court scanner
NEW DELHI: Violation of fundamental, human and legal rights of prisoners, who have alleged they were subjected to severe physical torture at the Tihar Jail here, on Monday came under the Delhi High Court's scanner as it ordered an enquiry into the incident.
The high court termed as "very disturbing" the alleged attack on inmates lodged in a high-risk ward in jail number 1 of the central jail on the night of November 21.
"We need to take a call. It (the incident) is completely unjustifiable. If this is the situation in Delhi, what about other places," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar remarked.
It said the issue was "extremely serious" and required a "serious probe", before an intervention by this court.
It appointed a three-member fact-finding committee, headed by a District Judge of a trial court, to enquire into the incident, in which 18 inmates were allegedly beaten up by the jail staff, and submit their report before it.
"It is our duty to ensure their (inmates) life is safe and secure even though they are accused of serious offences," the bench said.
The high court was hearing a PIL by an advocate Chinmay Kanojia, who has alleged that his client Shahid Husuf, currently being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and undergoing trial, was beaten up without any reason by the Tihar Jail staff.
The plea by advocate Jawahar Raja said a particular community, including Husuf, were being targeted by the jail staff causing serious injuries to him and others. Moved by the plight of the inmates in various jails and the poor living conditions there, the bench asked the AAP government and Tihar Jail authorities "which law says that the prisoners should sleep on the floor".
When the incident was brought to the attention of the high court on November 22, the court had set up a committee of senior high court judicial officers to look into the matter.
The committee, in its report, opined that the inmates were beaten up without any justifiable reason.
It said that despite unequivocal statutory guidelines, an incident has been perpetrated where prisoners were beaten up with such severity that it had resulted in them harbouring a constant fear of being killed by the prison authorities on one pretext or another.
Taking note of report, the bench directed the fact finding committee that the 18 prisoners, who have received injuries, be produced before the medical superintendent of the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
It said that medical superintendent should set up a board to conduct medical tests of the inmates and give their report to the fact finding committee.
The high court also asked the authorities and committee to preserve the CCTV footage of incident at the Tihar Jail.
It fixed the matter for further hearing on December 19 and directed the authorities to ensure safety and security of the persons, who have been beaten up.
During the hearing, the bench also expressed concern over fewer jails in Delhi and said the authorities should consider increasing the number of prisons.
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