Provide Facilities To Prisoners As Per SC Directions: HC Asks JK Govt

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SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir, High Court, has asked the Government of J&K, UT, to provide all facilities to prisoner in Jails  in compliance to the directions of the Supreme Court as also prepare a new Jail Manual for the Prisons.

 The HC also observed that ‘As in other parts of the country, it is essential to have a disability audit undertaken of the jails in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Union Territory of Ladakh’.

Hearing a PIL on the issues, a Double Bench comprising, Chief Justice, Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sindhu Sharma, observed that certain facilities, in compliance with the directions of the Supreme Court in R. D. Updhayay Vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2007 (15) SCC 337, deserve to be provided to the prisoners, adding, these, inter alia, include, special facilities for pregnant women prisoners; women prisoners and children, who are lodged in jails; education and recreation for children who are staying in jails with their mothers and follow up of the plight of the families of the prisoners.

The DB further maintained that several steps, in this regard, are being undertaken by the J&K State Legal Services Authority as well. The Member Secretary, J&K Legal Services Authority, shall place before this Court a compilation of the steps underway in this regard, the Bench ordered.

The DB further directed that the Director General (Prisons) shall also undertake an exercise of ensuring that disability audit of all prisons is undertaken and steps taken to ensure that no difficulty is faced by any prisoner on account of disability or age. A report in this regard shall be filed by Director General, Prisons, before us on the next date of hearing.

“So far as Central Prison, Tihar, Delhi, is concerned, the MIPMAN Foundation, an organization having expertise in the field, has assisted the concerned authorities in undertaking the disability audit and facilitating creation of facilities for the disabled prisoners in the jail” the DB  maintained and suggested that ‘Services of this Organization may be utilized in undertaking the disability audits of jails in the Union Territories.’

Seeking formulation of Jail Manual, the DB said that this matter has been repeatedly adjourned at the request of B. A. Dar, Sr. AAG to the effect that the new Jail Manual was at the stage of finalization and only formal approval had to be recorded. Today again time sought to place the new Jail Manual on record.

The final view, which will be taken, shall be placed on record positively within six weeks from today, failing which Secretary, Department of Home, Union Territory of J&K, shall remain personally present in the Court on the next date.

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