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Sunday, November 3, 2019

HC: Improve living conditions in jails


HC: Improve living conditions in jails

Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2

Guess what will soon be cooking in Punjab jails — chapatis on automatic machines served to inmates on a proper platter. Making it clear that prison bars will not keep jail reforms away, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Government to make living conditions more palatable by providing all modern facilities, including automatic chapati-making machines.

The Bench of first puisne Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Harinder Singh Sidhu in all issued more than 10 commandments on reforms and safety, including installation of CCTV cameras and mobile jammers in all the central and district jails in the state within three months.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Sharma directed that all inmates were required to be provided sufficient food. Jail kitchens must have proper ventilation and hygienic conditions must be maintained while cooking food. Food should also be served in proper crockery, the Bench asserted.

Directing proper maintenance of toilets/washrooms, Justice Sharma directed the deployment of sufficient number of safai karamchari in the jails. The CMOs were also directed to ensure proper supply of medicines and its distribution to the inmates. The ones suffering from contagious disease were directed to be kept separate from other inmates. Their shifting to hospitals due to illness would be permitted only on the basis of certification by the CMO concerned, Justice Sharma asserted, adding that their medical record was required to be maintained properly and kept in safe custody.

Asserting that the fundamental and legal rights of the jail inmates were required to be preserved, Justice Sharma directed the state to ensure no inmate suffered from physical or mental torture. Superintendent/deputy superintendent of jails were made personally responsible for their safety.

Legal services authority secretary was also directed to visit every jail in the state fortnightly. 

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