Inspector general of prisons Uddhav Kamble has justified a circular imposing a ban on sale of certain food items in jail canteens stating that he has merely rectified the illegal practice going on since 1949.
A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice Mridula Bhatkar had asked Kamble to explain the reasoning behind issuing the circular on September 5, 2008, imposing ban on extra food items inmates could purchase from the money they earn inside.
In-charge Public Prosecutor, Pandurang Pol said some items such as boiled eggs were sold in canteen since long. “However, there is no provision in the prison manual permitting such sale. Hence the circular was issued,” said Pol.
The judges have expressed that the step (of imposing a ban on sale) was because some jail staff had indulged in some malpractice. “What made you withdraw the facility after all these years? Your staff is not operating honestly and some malpractices have taken place,” remarked Justice Desai.
The court had asked Pol to explain the statement in Kamble’s earlier affidavit that said that giving good food to prisoners would convert their rigorous imprisonment into simple and soft imprisonment. Pol also submitted an unconditional apology for this statement.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Sardar Shahvali Khan who is serving life sentence in Aurangabad central prison for his role in the 1993 serial blasts in the city.
His advocate A. Ansari argued that the circular does not give any reasons for imposing such a ban.