Srinagar: The J&K High Court has asked government to reveal “compelling circumstances” to allow female paramilitary CRPF personnel to frisk women visitors to jails in violation of rules in the state.
The directions by a division bench of Justices Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Hasnain Massodi followed perusal of a status report filed by state’s Home Department and submissions by advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom for Kashmir High Court Bar Association.
“The status report filed is not clear as to whether frisking through female CRPF personnel is allowed in view of the non-availability of female jail staff or otherwise,” the court said, asking the state to clarify the position as to whether there is paucity of female staff or otherwise they are allowing frisking through female CRPF personnel.
“In case they will come up that it is the requirement to get the female visitors frisked through female CRPF personnel then they shall have to justify its permissibility so as to be in conformity with the rules,” the court said and directed Additional Advocate General R A Khan to file fresh affidavit within two weeks clearly indicating as to what are the compelling circumstances which have persuaded them to allow the frisking of female visitors through female CRPF personnel.
Frisking of fairer sex visitors by female CRPF personnel, as per government, is done in a separate enclosure in view of the paucity of female jail staff in the state’s Prisons Department and their other commitments.
“That runs contrary to the requirement of rule position and Section 41 of the Prisons Act,” the court observed.
Advocate Mian Qayoom said the requirement of rules is that it is the jail authority and the jail staff including the female staff which can frisk the female visitors.
Presently, the system, which is in place, as has been noticed by the visitors of the jail is that there are four check-points; at the first point CRPF personnel ask the visitors to which inmate they have to meet; at the second point again CRPF personnel are deputed for taking applications from the visitors which are forwarded to SP Jail, and at the third point it is again the CRPF female personnel who frisk the female visitors “which is not permissible.”
In another direction, the court directed government to file response within four weeks about the production of detainees/under trials in the courts without any “excuse”.
The court also directed government to file fresh status report within the same time about the filing of 31 posts of doctors and paramedical staff. Among the vacancies include 10 Assistant Surgeons, a Dental Surgeon, three B-Grade Specialists besides X-ray and dental technicians.
Earlier, the government informed the court that dietary scale prevalent in prisons of other states is being provided to inmates of the jails in Jammu and Kashmir.
The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association seeking directions to ensure every right guaranteed to a detainee and under trial as per constitution.