Prison Reforms- “DMs To Make Surprise Visits To Jails, Submit Report”: Orissa High Court Seeks Answers On Several Fronts From State Govt.

first_imgNews UpdatesPrison Reforms- “DMs To Make Surprise Visits To Jails, Submit Report”: Orissa High Court Seeks Answers On Several Fronts From State Govt. Sparsh Upadhyay14 March 2021 7:27 AMShare This – xDirecting the District Magistrates of various districts to make a surprise visit to the jails within their jurisdiction and submit a report to the Court, inter alia, on the conditions of the jails, the Orissa High Court last week sought answers from the State Government on multiple fronts in an attempt to understand the condition and present status of Prions in the State. The Bench…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginDirecting the District Magistrates of various districts to make a surprise visit to the jails within their jurisdiction and submit a report to the Court, inter alia, on the conditions of the jails, the Orissa High Court last week sought answers from the State Government on multiple fronts in an attempt to understand the condition and present status of Prions in the State. The Bench of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice B. P. Routray was dealing with a 15-year-old writ petition and a 7-year-old-PIL after receiving a recent report submitted by the Amicus Curiae in the matter. Both the petitions highlighted various issues concerning the jails in Orissa. Among other things, the Amicus Curiae apprised the Court about five news items concerning deaths of prison inmates in Odisha over the last five years and the issue of overcrowding of jails. Court’s directions to the State Government At the outset, the Court directed the Government of Odisha to examine the detailed directions issued by the Supreme Court in its judgment In Re: Inhuman Conditions in 1382 Prisons, (2016) 3 SCC 700 as well as the subsequent judgment. It may be noted that in the aforementioned case, the Supreme Court had observed that due importance needs to be given to the rights of prisoners and undertrials in various prisons across the country. Read more about the directions issued by the Apex Court here and here. Further, the Odisha Government has been directed to place before the Court, on the next date, in a tabulated form in two columns, the directions issued by the Supreme Court and the response of the State Government thereto. “It is absolutely essential that the above directions of the Supreme Court are implemented in letter and spirit to improve the conditions of jails in Orissa and this requires to be done in a timebound manner”, remarked the Court. The State Government has also been directed to inform the Court on the next date also the timelines within which it will implement the directions. Handcuffing of prisoners in jail Noting that in the case of Premshankar Shukla v. Delhi Administration AIR 1980 SC 1535, the Apex Court had proscribed the practice of handcuffing of prisoners in jail or while bringing them from the jail to the court, the Court directed the State Government to include the instructions it has issued regarding discontinuance of the practice anywhere in the State. Release of jail inmates and undertrial prisoners involved in compoundable offences The Court directed the Member Secretary, Odisha State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) to gather information on the number of prisoners in various jails in Odisha, who have been unable to be released, despite their being granted bail, on account of their inability to furnish bail bonds. On that basis, the Member Secretary, OSLSA has been directed to facilitate their release by getting panel counsel to file further applications before the Court which granted such bail to modify the conditions in terms of the judgments of the Supreme Court on this issue. Significantly, regarding the role of OSLSA, the Court said, “The Court would like to reiterate that without the active participation of the OSLSA and OHCLSC many of the reforms that have been proposed in the above judgments of the Supreme Court may not be able to be implemented.” Lastly, the Court issued the following directions, general in nature (list not exhaustive): – Between 15th March, 2021 and 16th April, 2021, the DMs of the various districts will make a surprise visit to the jails within their jurisdiction, in coordination with the Secretary of the concerned District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) or Taluk Legal Services Committee (TLSC) as the case may be.Submit a joint report to the Court on the conditions of the jails, condition of the prisoners, issues of overcrowding, the status of facilities within the jails including provisions for food and shelter, recreation etc. Preferably, the visits should be unannounced. The State Government will also organize at least one medical inspection of each of the district jails and sub jails in the State of Odisha by a team of medical professionals within the aforementioned period and the reports of such visits will also be placed before the Court on the next date. A compilation of reports of District Judges’ jail visits for the months of January, February, and March, 2021 be placed before the Court on the next date by the Registrar General of this Court. The matter has been listed for further hearing on 27th April, 2021. Click Here To Download OrderRead OrderNext Storylast_img read more