Shutters down on CCTV in jail toilets

Shutters down on CCTV in jail toilets

HC directs timely trial, medical facilities, hygienic atmosphere to inmates  
SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court has directed jail authorities not to operate CCTV cameras in the toilets and washroom in the jails, to maintain the decency and privacy of the inmates.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association, the court also passed other slew of directions to the government for ensuring timely trial and all permissible healthcare facilities to the jail inmates.
“CCTV cameras, if in place in the toilets/washrooms in the jails, shall not be operated i.e. its use in toilets and washrooms shall be stopped, so as to maintain decency and privacy of the inmates of the jail,” said a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Dhiraj Singh Thakur after hearing president of the KHCBA, advocate Mian Qayoom that some inmates during the visit by members of the lawyers’ body told them that CCTV Cameras have been installed in the washroom and latrines of the respective barracks, which was exposing their privacy before jail authorities and others every day.
The court also directed the authorities to immediately ensure that jail inmates who are facing trial in different courts are produced before the trial courts whenever their production is directed by the respective judicial officers.
It also directed the authorities to provide proper medical facilities to the inmates of the jail as permissible.
Besides, the court ordered maintenance of proper hygienic atmosphere in the jails and directed the authorities to file compliance report by or before next date of hearing in the PIL on April 17.
The court also took on record the jail report by the members of KHCBA following their visit to central jail Srinagar and Kot balwal Jammu last month.
The team members said that the inmates, who have been detained under PSA, stated that their Habeas Corpus petitions are not being decided by the high court promptly. Some of them said when their detention is quashed by the court, they are not released but are re-arrested or re-detained or falsely implicated in other criminal cases. “They wanted that on the expiry of their period of detention or when their orders of detention are quashed, the jail authorities should hand over them to their family members against proper receipt,” the Bar said in an application filed before the court. The under-trial inmates stated that they are not being produced before the courts for months or years together on the flimsy ground of non-availability of police escort. They said that a special force of police personnel, like the one attached with Central Jail, Tihar, should be constituted and posted in every jail, who should be held responsible for taking them to the court for hearing and also bringing them back.
They also said that the undertrial prisoners should not be lodged in another district or province, so as to ensure their presence or production before the courts on each date of hearing. They also stated that since District Jail Pulwama is ready, it should be made functional to avoid overcrowding in Central Jail here.
The inmates complained that the drinking water provided to them from the water tanks atop their barracks was impure and unclean, which is the cause for various health related problems to them.
The inmates of central jail here, the report said, stated that instead of jail staff, the CRPF personnel have been deployed for the frisking of visitors, who come to meet them and is a source of great annoyance to the visitors. They said that especially lady visitors are made to undress themselves by CRPF (lady) personnel, which is not permissible under jail manual. The inmates said that the frisking by CRPF personnel was done despite directions by the High Court to central jail authorities not to allow paramilitary men to frisk the visitors. They said that the matter was brought to the notice of D.G Prisons but despite assurance to them, the practice of frisking the visitors by CRPF personnel continue unabated. The inmates of central jail Srinagar stated that all the latrines and bathrooms of their respective barracks are in dilapidated condition and no efforts are being made to repair or renovate them.

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