“Revise your rules. Make room for everybody’s tastes and choice.”
This is what Justice Bilal Nazki said while asking the state to consider revising its government resolution on non-vegetarian food in jails.
“Otherwise, we will strike down the circular (which banned sale of food in canteens),” added Nazki.
Last year, the state government issued a resolution imposing a ban on the sale of food items in prison canteens, which was allowed under Maharashtra Prison Manual earlier. Authorities also stopped serving non-vegetarian food to prisoners.
The division bench of Justice Nazki and Justice A.R. Joshi asked the state to reconsider the resolution after it was brought to their notice that there was discrimination among convicts as foreign prisoners were served bread, butter and eggs. “If Indian prisoners can not get food of their choice, why are foreign prisoners an exception to the rule?” asked Justice Nazki.
The HC was hearing a petition filed by Sardar Shahawali Khan, a 1993 blasts convict.
Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol said that foreigners were given different food as they don’t eat chapatis.
An earlier affidavit filed by Deputy Inspector General of Prisons Ashok Patil stated that if prisoners got food of their choice, the “rigorous imprisonment would become soft”.
Pol told the court that the affidavit was filed based on “observations” by Inspector General of Prisons, not the DIG, who was present in court on Thursday.