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“A very sorry state of affairs,” says Bombay HC on health status of prison inmates in the state

The court has asked the Advocate General of the state to appear in the case and provide data on number of under trails and inmates above age of 60

Sabrangindia 17 Jun 2020

PUCLImage Courtesy:TOI

The Bombay High Court has sought data on number of under trials and the capacity of prisons from Additional Director General (ADG), Prisons in a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). The petition had been filed in May raising concerns over the health of prison inmates still lodged in prisons, in the light of outbreak of COVID19. On the last hearing date on June 12, the court had asked ADG Prisons to confirm whether under trails prisoners had succumbed to the disease.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice KK Tated stated that the report of the ADG revealed a “very sorry state of affairs”.

As per Indian Express, the Inspector General (Prisons) Sunil Ramanand submitted that mass swab testing of asymptomatic inmates may not be undertaken until it is assured that quarantine facilities would be provided.

The court’s attention was also brought to the data on number of tests conducted on prison inmates being abysmally low, by Senior Advocate Mihir Desai.

The court, in response, asked Advocate General Kumbhakoni to appear in the case and return with “better instructions” with regards to points raised by Mr. Desai and the report submitted by the ADG, Prisons on “insufficient space for quarantining those inmates of correctional homes, who test positive”. The court also urged Collectors of various districts across Maharashtra to have a look at the report and explore and identify space available for such quarantine.

The court directed Kumbhakoni to return on the next hearing date with data on “the number of under-trial prisoners/convicts presently lodged in all the correctional homes across Maharashtra; the number of inmates who are aged in excess of 60 years; diseases, if any, from which such elderly inmates are suffering from; and also the capacity of each correctional home for accommodating under-trial prisoners/convicts”.

The court said that after perusal of this data it will issue appropriate directions.

The court also addressed the grievance related to communication of inmates with their family and stated that “we have no doubt, shall act in terms of the instructions issued by the ADG (Prisons) to enable the inmates of the prisons to have wider interaction with their family members” while noting that the AGD, Prisons has permitted purchase of additional cellular phones to enable such communication.

The court also observed that only 1,342 temporary bail applications  were pending with district courts, as per data submitted by them and directed the courts to expeditiously dispose the same in accordance with law.

The next date of hearing is June 19.

The complete order can be read here.

Related:

Bombay HC seeks data on pending bail applications from district courts
Remembering Hosbet Suresh: With him, Human Rights defenders felt safe
Former Bombay HC judge Hosbet Suresh passes away

“A very sorry state of affairs,” says Bombay HC on health status of prison inmates in the state

The court has asked the Advocate General of the state to appear in the case and provide data on number of under trails and inmates above age of 60

PUCLImage Courtesy:TOI

The Bombay High Court has sought data on number of under trials and the capacity of prisons from Additional Director General (ADG), Prisons in a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). The petition had been filed in May raising concerns over the health of prison inmates still lodged in prisons, in the light of outbreak of COVID19. On the last hearing date on June 12, the court had asked ADG Prisons to confirm whether under trails prisoners had succumbed to the disease.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta and Justice KK Tated stated that the report of the ADG revealed a “very sorry state of affairs”.

As per Indian Express, the Inspector General (Prisons) Sunil Ramanand submitted that mass swab testing of asymptomatic inmates may not be undertaken until it is assured that quarantine facilities would be provided.

The court’s attention was also brought to the data on number of tests conducted on prison inmates being abysmally low, by Senior Advocate Mihir Desai.

The court, in response, asked Advocate General Kumbhakoni to appear in the case and return with “better instructions” with regards to points raised by Mr. Desai and the report submitted by the ADG, Prisons on “insufficient space for quarantining those inmates of correctional homes, who test positive”. The court also urged Collectors of various districts across Maharashtra to have a look at the report and explore and identify space available for such quarantine.

The court directed Kumbhakoni to return on the next hearing date with data on “the number of under-trial prisoners/convicts presently lodged in all the correctional homes across Maharashtra; the number of inmates who are aged in excess of 60 years; diseases, if any, from which such elderly inmates are suffering from; and also the capacity of each correctional home for accommodating under-trial prisoners/convicts”.

The court said that after perusal of this data it will issue appropriate directions.

The court also addressed the grievance related to communication of inmates with their family and stated that “we have no doubt, shall act in terms of the instructions issued by the ADG (Prisons) to enable the inmates of the prisons to have wider interaction with their family members” while noting that the AGD, Prisons has permitted purchase of additional cellular phones to enable such communication.

The court also observed that only 1,342 temporary bail applications  were pending with district courts, as per data submitted by them and directed the courts to expeditiously dispose the same in accordance with law.

The next date of hearing is June 19.

The complete order can be read here.

Related:

Bombay HC seeks data on pending bail applications from district courts
Remembering Hosbet Suresh: With him, Human Rights defenders felt safe
Former Bombay HC judge Hosbet Suresh passes away

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