The Delhi high court on Wednesday directed the state government and the Tihar and Rohini prison authorities to take necessary steps to reduce difficulties faced by differently-abled and ailing inmates.
“The Delhi government and the director general of these prisons are directed to treat this public interest litigation as a representation, look into the grievances and take action within three months,” a bench comprising chief justice D Murugesan and justice VK Jain said.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Concerned Action that has been working for the disabled community for the past three decades.
“A large number of physically challenged inmates and those afflicted with polio and old-age problems are suffering in jails due to lack of special facilities for them. Further, without adequate number of wheelchairs and crutches, many of the disabled are forced to crawl for doing various chores and accessing most of the places in the prison facility, as they are inaccessible,” Ritu Kumar, a lawyer acting for the NGO told the court.
Kumar told the court that she has already brought the issue to the attention of the National Human Rights Commission.
The court asked Kumar to first approach the government and prison authorities with her grievance and come back to the court only if they were not met.
Quoting responses received from two Right to Information queries from the prisons, Kumar said there was no provision for regular medical check-ups for such physically challenged and ailing inmates, no special lodging facility and jail authorities could not give details of infrastructure and appliances in place for the benefit of such inmates.
The PIL also urged setting up a committee of experts to conduct a survey of the existing facilities and physical environment and suggest improvements required.