Shocked to know that murder convicts and undertrials in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh jails were not barred from enjoying 'better-class' facilities, the Punjab and Haryana high court has directed both states and the union territory to submit the compliance report from all jail superintendents prohibiting the former from availing such facilities.
The directions came from the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Augustine George Masih on Wednesday during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora.
The court also directed the Haryana government to amend its circular issued on June 21, 2012, that does not debar prisoners involved in murder cases from grant of 'better-class' facilities in jails. The chief justice said it was surprising that though the circular barred such facilities to prisoners involved in theft/cheating, robbery/dacoity, kidnapping, abduction, adulteration of food/drugs, offences against the state, rape/unnatural offence, Prevention of Corruption Act, convicted for compelling lady to commit suicide, bride killing for dowry, and convicted under the Official Secrets Act, but those convicted/tried for murders were entitled to the same.
Arora had submitted a list of 43 murder convicts/undertrials enjoying 'better-class' facilities in Haryana and Chandigarh jails. Of these, 17 are in Hisar jail, 13 in Gurgaon jail, five in Karnal jail and eight in Burail Model Jail, Chandigarh.
The case would come up for hearing on August 7.
'Better-class' facilities that can be provided in jails include provision for a separate cook house for prisoner, permitting him to cook his own food; provision of extra food articles at prisoner's own expense; permission to wear own clothing rather than that provided to ordinary prisoners; exemption from prison tasks depending upon their capacity, character, previous mode of living and antecedents; and entitlement to six private books.
Such prisoners are also permitted additional meetings with relatives and friends compared to normal inmates.