Reprimanding the state government for delay in introducing meeting room facilities for friends and relatives of prisoners in jail, the Bombay high court on Tuesday asked the government why they had not been able to do so in the last 50 years.
A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice Rajesh Ketkar on Tuesday said the waiting room facility was mentioned in the prison manual, framed in 1960. Public prosecutor PA Pol said in older prisons, like the Arthur Road Jail, constructing such facilities was difficult due to lack of space. The court countered this with, “You can always convert some portion of the jail into a visiting room, or amend the rules and provide one elsewhere.” “You can even construct one in the basement,” justice Khanwilkar said.
The affidavit filed by the government said the facilities would be made available within a reasonable time frame, depending on government funds.
The court replied that finances shouldn’t be a problem, because the government could rearrange funding for this purpose. “You can always allot one car less to prison authorities and use the money to construct a meeting room,” the court said. The court had earlier asked the state to reply to a letter from inmate Vencil Miranda, who spoke of difficulties faced by relatives and friends of inmates, while visiting.