Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on district judges for not submitting jail visit reports despite repeated directions.
It also directed Registrar General to comply with the directions passed by the court on May 25 and report to court within a week.
“It is on May 25, 2018 Registrar General was directed to seek report as to whether periodical visit to the jails have been conducted by the District Judges or not but no such report has been submitted so far,” the court said.
Hearing a litigation on “Inhuman Conditions in Prisons” represented by High Court Bar Association, the division bench of Acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur remarked that “it is necessary as well our responsibility that periodical visits to jails be conducted without delay” after senior counsel Mian Qayoom informed the court that only three district judges (Kathua, Reasi and Pulwama) have filed the visiting reports upto the month of May.
The court remarked that jail visits should be carried after every two months so that the issues related to jails can be solved.
The court also observed that the earlier report of Home department filed by Additional Secretary, Home, reveals that a meeting was called for removing various deficiencies like drinking water at Central Jail, Srinagar and non-availability of ambulances in jails, providing of a contingent of escort for full time to meet the emergency situation like ailment in the Central Jail, providing of services of B-Grade specialist or Assistant Surgeon to the inmates and arrangement for segregation of inmates in respective class as per the Jail Manual.
“The Home department, the report shows, has also impressed upon all Jail Authorities to implement the directions issued by the High Court in letter and spirit and provide food to the inmates on time in the evening,” the court remarked.
On previous hearing court had directed that all the district judges are under command to visit the jails of their respective jurisdiction after every two months.
“Direction is already passed to the authorities to ensure that the inmates of the jail who are facing trial in different courts are produced before the court whenever their hearing of the cases is listed,” the court had said.
The reports have been sought to ascertain the status of the nine issues referred by the Supreme Court regarding the maintenance of jail inmates. The issues are: overcrowding in jails, delay in trial, torture and ill treatment, neglect of health and hygiene, sub-standard food and inadequate clothing, prison vices, no means of communication, streamlining of jail visits, and management of open-air prisons.
In 2014, the High Court had mobilised judicial officers across Jammu and Kashmir to visit every prison in their district to identify and release under-trials in consonance with the Supreme Court directions.