HC seeks report on condition of jail inmates

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, Nov 2: As the authorities today informed that the Jail Manual and Training Manual have been notified, the High Court today 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.
Meantime, the Additional Secretary Home appraised the court that the department has already notified the Jail Manual and Training Manual and the DG Prisons has indicated in his affidavit the details of capacity of each jail in UT and number of prisoners and under trials lodged therein with the existing condition. “Meanwhile, the respondents shall update the status quo the directions passed by the Apex Court”, the DB directed.
The Apex Court directed for overcoming of 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 apex court for resolving these issues and 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.
“The Director General of Police/Inspector General of Police incharge of prisons should ensure that there is proper and effective utilization of available funds so that the living condition of the prisoners is commensurate with human dignity”, the SC further directed.
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 the Central and District Jails as well as jails for women so that there is better and effective management of the prison and prisoners.
The Ministry of Home Affairs was also directed to conduct an annual review of the implementation of the Model Prison Manual for which considerable efforts have been made not only by senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs but also persons from civil society.
In context with the condition of under prisoners and under trials lodged in various jails of the Union Territory, the DB had direct the Director General of Prisons to submit a complete report with full details of the capacity of each jail in the Union 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 the Union Territory.
In this regard, the DGP reported that presently 5048 jail inmates are lodged in 14 jails in J&K 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, in District Jail Kathua capacity is 275 and lodgements are 358, in District Jail Udhampur capacity is 292 and lodgements are 515, in District Jail Badherwah capacity is 155 and lodgements are 184, in District Jail Rajouri capacity is 152 and lodgements are 187, in District Jail Poonch capacity is 152 and lodgements are 192, in District Jail Baramulla capacity is 213 and lodgements are 326, in District Jail Kupwara capacity is 164 and lodgements are 320, in District Jail Anantnag capacity is 148 and lodgements are 199, in District Jail Kishtwar capacity is 68 and lodgements are 86 and in Sub Jail Reasi capacity is 26 while as lodgements are 67.
The DGP further added that to reduce the overcrowding in jails is under active consideration of the department and the department has submitted a proposal to Home Department for construction of 2 new jails in Reasi and Bandipora with the intake capacity of lodgement of 350 and 232 respectively.
DGP further informed the court that the Government has also transferred 148 kanals of Shamilat Deh land in Dambra, Tehsil Mahanpur of District Kathua in favour of Prisons Department for construction of High Security Jail.
“The health care facility to ailing jail inmates is top of the agenda of the department and is being provided on priority basis as also there are some hospital in some jails. All the prescribed medicines and suitable diet and all facilities as admissible under rules is being provided to jail inmates without delay”, read the report.