Address prisoners' issues pointed out by judges: High Court to jail SPs

The High Court has asked jail Superintendents to address immediately prisoners’ problems that have been pointed out by Principal District and Sessions Judges in the reports they filed after visiting various jails. 

Hearing two Public Interest Litigations—one  by courts own motion and the other by Bar Association Kashmir—a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan  asked its Registrar Judicial  to send copies of the reports to the Superintendents of jails. 

The court also ordered that copies of the reports should be made available to amicus curiae G R Tantray, Bar president M A Qayoom, senior advocate  RA Jan  and state’s Senior Additional Advocate General BA Dar for examination.

Observing that out of the 22 districts, reports were received from only five, the court directed Sessions Judges of all districts to strictly comply with the orders passed by it. “A serious view will be taken in case the reports are not filed in terms of the directions already passed,” the court said. 

The judges of only Srinagar, Ganderbal, Rajouri, Anantnag and Pulwama districts have filed the reports so far in the High Court.

With regard to the report by PDSJ Srinagar AR Malik, related to eight cases pending in courts, which require immediate courts attention, the bench ordered Secretaries of District Legal Services Authorities of Srinagar, Baramulla, Kulgam and Bandipora to look into the cases and bring the issues to the attention of the trial courts concerned.

“In case legal aid is required by any of the under-trial prisoners, the same shall be ensured by the Secretary, District Legal Services Authority concerned,” the court said.

After state counsel BA Dar told the court that the jail manual is being finalized and formal approval has to be accorded by the State Administrative Council, the court granted him four weeks time to complete the finalization and place its outcome before the court on the next date.

With regard to two reports—one about the incident which occurred at Central Jail Srinagar on April 15 in which two inmates were injured in overnight clashes after some prisoners objected to their shifting from old barracks to the new ones, and the other filed by Director General Prisons with regard to the conditions of jails in J&K, the court said the copies of reports be provided to counsels appearing in the matter for examination who shall make submissions on the next date of hearing.