HC orders for disability audit of J&K Jails

Seeks personal presence of Home dept official to explain about jail manual finalisation

SRINAGAR: The J&K high Court on Thursday called for personal appearance of under secretary, Home Department to explain his position about finalization and approval of jail manual.
The division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur while hearing the petition on providing facilities to the jail inmates across the J&K said the matter has been repeatedly adjourned at the request of government counsel to the effect that the new jail manual was at the stage of finalization and only formal approval had to be recorded.
When the matter was taken up for further consideration, the government counsel sought some more time to place the new jail manual on record.
While granting the time, the court directed for personal appearance of under secretary Home department in order to explain position on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Court expressed serious concern over the approach of authorities for not undertaking disability audit of jails.
The court directed to authorities to have a disability audit of the jails in Jammu and Kashmir as well as Ladakh immediately.
The Director General Prisons was directed to undertake an exercise for ensuring that disability audit of all prisons is undertaken and steps taken to ensure that no difficulty is faced by any prisoner on account of disability or age.
In compliance of earlier directions of the court, Member Secretary of Legal Services Authority submitted its report before the court indicating the facilities provided to the prisoners in compliance of Supreme Court directions which includes special facilities for pregnant women prisoners; women prisoners and children who are lodged in jails; education and recreation for children who are staying in jails with their mothers and follow up of the plight of the families of the prisoners.
The court while taking the report on record directed Member Secretary, Legal Services Authority to ensure monitoring of cases of prisoners while providing legal aid to those who cannot afford it.
When asked whether there is facility of telecommunication available in jails, the government counsel informed the court that the said facility is available in jails situated in Jammu and for providing the same in Kashmir, Director General Prisons has been asked to ensure the said facility be made available.
The court directed a status report be placed before court on next date of hearing.

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