The Bombay high court on Tuesday directed the home department to appoint enough medical officers in prisons across the state to ensure proper medical treatment to inmates round the clock.
The division bench comprising justices BH Marlapalle and UD Salvi gave two month’s time to fill all vacant posts of medical officers in jails. The court has also directed the home department to submit an action taken report within eight weeks, said additional public prosecutor Madhavi Mhatre.
The direction came following a petition filed by Salim Abdul Razzak Baig, a life convict lodged at Kolhapur Central Prison. Baig had primarily complained about lack of escort for inmates to visit hospital for necessary treatment. “Many prisoners are suffering from serious illnesses, and the prison doctor has referred many to civil hospital for treatment or tests. However, the superintendent has time and again failed to provide escort for inmates on appointed dates,” says the petition.
Dr Shivajirao Patil, the lone medical officer posted at the central prison, said there was only one medical officer at Kolhapur Central Prison where nearly 1200 inmates are lodged, and there was no doctor to attend to female inmates.
In the affidavit filed in reply to Baig’s petition, Dr Patil stated that at least three medical officers were required in the prison on a permanent basis and a woman medical officer to attend to woman inmates.
The bench based its injunctions to the home department on this affidavit, and gave it two months time to implement them.