Endorsing the complaints about overcrowding, delay in trial, torture and ill-treatment, neglect of health and hygiene, insubstantial food and inadequate clothing, prison vices, deficiency in communication, streamlining of jail visits, management of open air prisons in jails, the Indian Supreme Court has directed the lower courts as well as the authorities to overcome the problems.
Besides criminals from across India, thousands of Hurriyat leaders and activists from Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir are, at present, languishing in Indian jails.
The IIOJK’s High Court has also sought updated status of the directions passed by the Supreme Court with regard to conditions of jail inmates and the facilities provided to them in jails.
The Division Bench of Chief Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice V C Koul directed the Home Department and the Director General Prisons J&K to file the updated status report on next date of hearing mentioning therein the updation of required facilities for the inmates and under trials.
The Indian Supreme Court had directed that the Under Trial Review Committee in every district should meet every quarter and the first such meeting should take place and the Member Secretary of the State Legal Services Authority of every State will ensure, in coordination with the Secretary of the District Legal Services Committee in every district, that an adequate number of competent lawyers are empanelled to assist under trial prisoners and convicts, particularly the poor and indigent, and that legal aid for the poor does not become poor legal aid.
It was also added that the issue of health, hygiene, food, clothing and rehabilitation of prisoners be prioritized and the Ministry of Home Affairs will ensure that the Management Information System is in place at the earliest in all jails.
In context with the condition of under prisoners and under trials lodged in various jails of the occupied territory, the High Court had direct the Director General of Prisons to submit a complete report with full details of the capacity of each jail in the territory, the number of prisoners and under trials lodged therein and about the existing conditions as also the proposal with regard to the construction of any new jail within Jammu and Kashmir.
In this regard, the DGP reported that presently 5048 jail inmates are lodged in 14 jails in IIOJK against the sanctioned capacity of 3578. In Central Jail Kot Balwal sanctioned capacity is 902 and lodgements are 1016, in Central Jail Srinagar capacity is 509 and lodgements are 722, in District Jail Jammu capacity is 426 and lodgements are 688 and so son.—KMS