Bar flays violation of jail manuals

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SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association (HCBA) has appealed international human rights organizations to intervene into what it called non implementation of jail manuals across the state. The Bar has also impressed upon the jail authorities particularly that of the Central Jail Srinagar to adhere to its manual so that the problems faced by the inmates are addressed.

In a statement Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, general secretary HCBA, has said that he was part of a team led by Mian Abdul Qayoom, president HCBA that  visited Central Jail Srinagar on Monday and interacted with the detenues, undertrial prisoners and convicts as also with the jail authorities.

“The Bar team also impressed upon the jail authorities to follow the Jail Manual in letter and spirit and adhere to the directions given by the Hon’ble High Court in the PIL filed by the Bar Association,” Bhat said in a statement.

He said that while appreciating the courage, spirit, dedication and commitment of these prisoners of conscience, therefore, the Bar Association has appealed the International Human Rights Organisation to take notice of the miseries and sufferings of these prisoners who are languishing in different jails for years together, both inside and outside the state and also requests the people to pray for their welfare and betterment.

During their meeting with the inmates and the jail officials it was learnt that there has been no amendment with regard to the providing of food to the detenues, interms of Jammu and Kashmir Detenues (General) Order 1968 ever since from 27.02.1990. It was also found that interms of Jammu and Kashmir Detenues (General) Order 1968 an amount of Rs. 17 is to be spent per day by the Govt. for a detenue on food and toilet and there has been no increase in the said amount from 27.02.1990.

“The Jail Superintendent told the Bar Team that he is spending Rs. 80/- approximately on food and toilet on each detenue, but he admitted that the Govt. has not issued any order to that effect as yet and he is doing the same of his own. The detenues told the Bar team that in Tihar Jail New Delhi detenues are paid Rs. 200 per day on account of Food and toilet and in case they have to be taken to any court for a hearing they are given an additional amount of Rs. 170 per day. They however, stated that no such amount is paid to the detenues in the jails of J&K, on account of food and toilet or on account of their production in the courts for a hearing,” Bhat has said.

The Bar general secretary said that the team was also told that in terms of clause 33.2 of Jail Manual there should be Medical Staff specially selected and well trained in prison work and also adequately equipped hospital both for male and female inmates with provisions for necessary medical, surgical, dental and psychiatric services, but no such medical staff or adequate equipped hospital is available in the Central Jail Srinagar or in any other jail of the State.

“They also told the Bar team that interms of clause 33.7, besides a whole time Medical Officer, there has to be a Senior Physician and Medical Officer of the rank of Civil Surgeon (CMO) who has to visit the prison at least twice a week to give his expert, technical advice and that there should be at least one whole time medical officer, two pharmacists and qualified nurses in the prison, but no such, whole-time Medical Officer, Pharmacists or qualified nurses are available in Central jail Srinagar or elsewhere,” the HCBA general secretary has added.  

According to the Bar team, the inmates also stated that there are number of jails in the Kashmir province where the prisoners of the Kashmir province can be lodged, but they are off and on being lodged or shifted outside the valley, just to defeat their right of speedy trial, as most all of them are facing trial in the cases which are pending in different courts of the Kashmir province. They also stated that in the name of VIP movement and non-availability of escort, they are not produced in the courts even from Central Jail Srinagar and as such, one can easily understand, the agony as suffering with which the prisoners lodged in jails outside Kashmir province are facing for want of trail.

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