The Delhi High Court has asked the state government and Tihar jail administration to take immediate action whenever they receive complaints of torture from inmates against prison authorities.
“What action have you taken against jail authorities like wardens against whom inmates have complained? You have to immediately verify the complaints and ensure action is taken against them if the allegations are found to be true. Otherwise, you cannot control this. These things are happening in jails across the country,” a bench of chief justice D Murugesan and justice Jayant Nath said.
“There are two types of violence in jails. An attack of an inmate by a co-inmate, which can happen due to different reasons. The other is assault by jail authorities. In that case, the presumption should be of torture,” the bench told the Delhi government counsel.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Multi Action Research Group, which drew the attention of the court about alleged torture of nine inmates by Tihar jail authorities and said that the government took no action.
“The incidents was mentioned in the report submitted by visiting judges but even they have not recommended any action against the errant jail staff,” NGO’s lawyer Ritu Kumar told the court.Justice Murugesan said the court will issue directions aimed at safety of inmates, including making visits by judges more effective.
“We plan to ask the judges or team of lawyers who visit the jail to file their reports in Delhi High Court. They should not be merely recording the complaints of the inmates, but also recommend action against guilty officials. The court will scrutinise the report.”The court asked the government about steps taken to curb blade attacks and stabbings inside the jail.