The Punjab government has admitted before the Punjab and Haryana high court that 20% of the 7,000 prisoners lodged in various jails of the state are drug addicts.
The information was submitted before the division bench headed by chief justice Arjan Kumar Sirki on Thursday through an affidavit filed by the state home department during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by Tarlochan Singh.
The petitioner had sought directions to the state government for prevention of smuggling of drugs into the jails premises.
The state government's reply also mentioned the action plan prepared by it on the basis of the meetings held by a committee constituted on the directions of the high court.
The court was informed that as per the action plan, each prison staff and others entering the jail premises should be searched by a third agency other than the jail staff and district police and sniffer dogs should be deployed at all central jails for detecting drugs.
The action plan also recommends relaxation in sentence on account of good behaviour of those prisoners who voluntarily avail de-addiction services and get successfully rehabilitated.
It was also informed that to keep a close watch over inmates/jail staff and visitors, close circuit television (CCTV) cameras should be installed at all strategic points of jails and connected with the control room.
It also recommends action against district police personnel on escort duty of inmates to courts and hospitals if a prohibited article is recovered from inmates during search on their return to jail; and rotating police escort on regular basis to avoid a nexus between them and prisoners.
Taking note of the government's reply, the court adjourned the case to March 8.