Tihar assault ‘extremely serious in nature’, treatment of injured first priority: Delhi HC

Tihar assault ‘extremely serious in nature’, treatment of injured first priority: Delhi HC
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Independent medical board to supervise treatment at AIIMS, Tihar authorities to pay

Srinagar: The Delhi High Court has directed the three-member fact-finding committee led by district judge Brijesh Sethi to submit its report in two weeks, detailing the events and circumstances of the reported assault on 18 inmates at Tihar Jail, New Delhi, on the night of November 21. The report is to be submitted by December 11.
After a preliminary fact-finding committee submitted its report on November 27, acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, C Hari Shankar J, formed another committee led by Sethi which includes Prof Mrinal Satish from the National Law University, Delhi, and Advocate Sumeet Verma, a member of the Delhi HC’s Legal Services Committee.
“Only one of the 18 injured inmates was taken for treatment (after the assault) to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in the night of November 21,” reads the report issued by the Delhi HC after listening to the fact-finding committee which visited Tihar on November 23, when a petition was filed in the case.
The committee reported that on the night of November 21, a team of Tamil Nadu Special Police (TSP) beat up at least 18 inmates of Tihar Jail’s High Risk wards ‘C’ and ‘F’, in which the inmates sustained severe injuries. After the committee submitted its report to the Delhi HC, the injured were taken to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, in two groups on November 28 and 29 for treatment.
The injured included four Kashmiris, among them Shahid Yousuf, son of Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin.
The barbarous assault provoked sharp reaction and condemnation in Jammu and Kashmir, led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who sought action against the accused policemen. Some media reports on Friday said that all the prison staff allegedly involved in the assault have been suspended, but no FIR has been lodged over the incident as yet.
“The first and the foremost issue which needs to be addressed are the nature of injuries and, more importantly, treatment of the injuries suffered by these jail inmates,” reads the Delhi HC order. The court has directed medical examination and treatment of the victims by an independent medical body.
At point number 4 in its order, the Delhi HC has said, “Additionally, the committee, constituted by us on 23rd November 2017, has prima facie observed violation of rules and instruction regarding searches, alarms and the manner in which prisoners are to be treated.”
The November 23 committee has referred to the Delhi Jail Manual to point out how jail authorities are to conduct themselves.
The court has observed that the constitution of the committee two days after the incident of police assault “achieved the purpose” of ensuring that there was no further use of violence against any prisoner, and of providing a prima facie report regarding the incident and preservation of records.
“The matter complained of by the petitioner as well as the reported facts in the report of the committee dated November 27th, 2017 are extremely serious in nature and require a more serious probe before any intervention should be made by this court,” says the order issued by the Delhi HC Chief Justice.
It has asked the medical board to submit its report of the 18 victims before Judge Sethi, who has been asked to submit his report in two weeks.
“The jail authorities shall permit the prisoners to meet the committee in private and enable unhindered and free communication,” the order adds.
The court has directed the jail authorities to preserve and produce before the committee all evidence while the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital has been asked to preserve all medical records of the injured prisoners.
Further, it said, that payments must be made by Tihar Jail to AIIMS so that there is no delay in diagnosis or treatment of the victims. The case has been listed for hearing on December 19.

 

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