Impartially evaluate drinking water, sanitary conditions in Tihar Jail: Delhi HC
In view of a plea filed by the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, the court has constituted a four-member fact finding committee to evaluate drinking water and proper sanitary conditions in Tihar jail.
New Delhi, Aug 29 (IANS) In view of a plea filed by the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee, the court has constituted a four-member fact finding committee to evaluate drinking water and proper sanitary conditions in Tihar jail.
A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Narula appointed Advocates Dr. Amit George, Santosh Kumar Tripathi, Nandita Rao and Tushar Sannu as the members of the committee, and asked for a detailed status report from them and the Delhi government.
The committee has been directed to assess the conditions of drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, and maintenance of washrooms/toilets within the complex.
“Their mandate is to impartially evaluate the present conditions and update us on the status of drinking water, sanitation, overall hygiene, and the maintenance of washrooms/toilets within the complex,” the court said.
The Director General of Tihar Jail has been directed to support the committee's work by providing necessary resources and facilitating a thorough examination of the jail premises.
As the attention of the court was drawn to a report based on an inspection conducted in the jail premises by a panel counsel, the bench observed that the investigation underscores a worrying deficiency in providing inmates with drinking water.
“...the sanitary conditions are described as less than satisfactory. The state of washrooms/toilets is particularly concerning -- many are in disrepair, and even the basic privacy of inmates is compromised due to broken doors, hampering their ability to maintain personal hygiene in private,” the court said.
It added that the report and accompanying photographs clearly revealed that the jail inmates are bereft of essential amenities, including safe drinking water and functional toilets.
The court said that prisoners' basic constitutional rights, including access to safe drinking water and functional toilets, remain inviolable according to Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
“As enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, this right remains inviolable, irrespective of an individual's incarcerated status. A prisoner's basic constitutional rights persist, even behind bars. Therefore, any measures restricting an individual's freedom must not infringe upon their inherent dignity and rights,” the court observed.
The court posted matter for hearing next on October 18,
The Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee had moved a plea stating that not providing basic amenities to the jail inmates is an outright violation of the Delhi Prison Rules and Model Jail Manual.
"…depriving the inmates of Tihar jail of basic amenities such as access to clean and adequate drinking water, sanitation, and overall hygienic environment and clean and private washrooms/toilets, is in outright violation of the Delhi Prison Rules as also the Model Jail Manual. Such deprivation is also in contravention to the accepted international rules and guidelines for prisoners," the plea reads.
According to the plea filed, the jail’s hygiene issues were brought to the attention of the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee by a prisoner, which resulted in an inspection conducted by one of its panel counsel in the jail premises and it was found out that adequate and clean drinking water was not being made available in the premises of the Tihar jail.
In the plea it is stated that the broken washrooms and toilets are not fit for use and need repair. It also stated that there is a manhole in the premises filled with stagnant water, which is now spilling out and has made it difficult for the prisoners to reside.
The plea thus states that the panel counsel had suggested that a plea could be filed seeking redressal of grievances regarding access to safe and clean drinking water as also for ensuring an overall hygienic environment in the jail premises.