Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday granted the state government final opportunity to finalise and place a Jail Manual before the court by next date of hearing.
The court passed the direction after state counsel BA Dar informed the court that due to upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the JK Home department was engaged and due to this the Jail Manual, which stands almost finalised, couldn’t be placed before court.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan then directed state authorities to place the Jail Manual before court by or before next date of hearing, without fail.
The Chief Justice remarked that for safeguarding rights of jail inmates, it was necessary and important to implement the jail manual in letter and spirit.
Senior counsel Mian Qayoom directed attention of the court to the recent clashes inside Central Jail Srinagar where police fired pellets and bullets at prisoners. He said two prisoners received bullet injuries.
State counsel BA Dar informed the court that the prisoners were not being shifted to any other jail but had only been asked to move to another barrack to allow renovation of their barracks. Dar told the court that 542 prisoners started pelting stones which compelled the police to fire in self-defence.
The court after hearing the counsels called for a report within two weeks on the incident.
Also, the court directed the Superintendent of Central Jail Srinagar to ensure medical examination of ailing/injured prisoners and file a report within a week.
Counsel Mian Qayoom informed the court that jail inspection/jail visits were not being held regularly as directed by the Supreme Court. He said that despite many court directives, regular monthly inspections of jails were not taking place.
The court directed all Principal District Judges to ensure inspection of jails and file their report within two weeks.
Amicus Curiae GR Tantray informed the court that on September5, 2018, the court called for a report in case of a prisoner who was forced to remain naked in jail, but the state authorities had failed to file any such report before the court.
In this regard, the court directed Srinagar Principal District Judge, who is also the chairperson of District Legal Service Authority, to file a report on this issue at the earliest.