HC Gives SLSA 4 Weeks For Jail Visit Report

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SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) to furnish within four weeks reports regarding various jails of Jammu and Kashmir.

 A division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Dhiraj Singh Thakur directed Sofi Manzoor, representing SLSA and secretary to file a detailed a status report, dealing with the issues referred by the Supreme Court regarding jail inmates.

The bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation related the nine points that the SC has referred it about the jail inmates of the state.  The issues relate to overcrowding in jails, delay in trial, torture and ill-treatment, neglect of health and hygiene, sub-standard food and inadequate clothing, prison vices, no communication, streamlining of jail visits and management of open air prisons.

In a landmark ruling, the apex court on September 5, 2014 had ordered the release of all under-trial prisoners who have already served half the term of their sentence except for those whose offence attract death penalty.

In 2014, the High Court had mobilised judicial officers across the state to visit every prison in their district to identify and release Under-trials in consonance with the directions by the Apex Court.

 In keeping with the directions of a three-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India R M  Lodha, sessions judges, chief judicial magistrates and magistrates were to start their jail visits from October 1 2014 to identify and release under-trials.

The reports in this regard were to be filed to the respective State High Courts, which were to pass them on to the Supreme Court. Pursuant to directions, J&K high court’s Registrar General had issued a circular on 12 November 2014, asking all the jurisdictional magistrates, CJMs and the session judges to hold one sitting in a week in each jail or prison to identify cases of those under trial prisoners who have completed half of the maximum period of imprisonment provided for the offence under law for which the prisoner has been jailed.

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