Directs petitioners to approach DG Prisons
Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed Director General Prisons to take immediate steps for registration and vaccination of the prisoners lodged in around 13 jails of the region after disposing of a litigation seeking proper vaccination of the prisoners in view of the surging Covid cases and deaths.
The court of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal while disposing of the petition filed by petitioners Naseem Qadri and Uzair Ahmad Zarger through Counsel Syed Musaib were asked by the court to move a comprehensive representation before DG prisons.
“In the event, any such representation is submitted, the Director General of Prisons would consider it and take all possible immediate steps for the registration and the vaccination of the prisoners or may formulate a policy or a scheme so that no inmate of the jail remains unvaccinated,” the division bench directed.
The petitioner counsel made a submission before the court that the prisoners also have a right of life which includes proper medication and protection against the pandemic. It was stated that over 8000 prisoners are currently lodged in J&K jails while quoting media reports, the petitioner Counsel said that some 540 prisoners have also been infected by the deadly virus killing two inmates as well.
To this, Advocate General D C Raina submitted before court that the government is conscious of its obligation and appropriate steps are being taken for the vaccination of all the citizens including undertrial as well as convicted prisoners.
The court while considering the matter said, “We do not find that the petitioners have approached the appropriate authority so as to bring their concern to their notice for any appropriate action. We dispose of this writ petition with liberty to the petitioners to submit a comprehensive representation regarding the registration and vaccination of the prisoners to the Director General of Prisons for the required action.”
Earlier, the plea stated that under-trials, convicts and detenues lodged in various jails, even though eligible for the vaccination in terms of their relevant age are denied access to the COVID-19 Vaccine as though it is their fundamental right to have access to the health care facilities as other citizens.
It was submitted that the technological barriers be eased down for prisoners in order so that they can fill their requisite details on the mandatory CoWIN application for registration for the vaccination or to be on the beneficiary list.
It was said that the prisoners cannot fend for themselves in their situation of detention and the state has the responsibility to look after their health care needs that too more in a critical situation as of now.