A surprise visit by the newly appointed Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul at the Amritsar central jail on Wednesday brought him face to face with myriad problems faced by prison inmates, including lack of basic amenities, unsanitary conditions, shortage of space and absence of health facilities, apart from charges of human rights violations levelled by the inmates.
The CJ, who was accompanied by Justice Rajive Bhalla, directed jail officials to resolve these issues at the earliest.
During his visit, the CJ came to know about the shortage of potable water, and was told by jail inmates that their human rights were often violated even as hardly any attention was paid to cleanliness in the barracks.
According to inmates, there was hardly any provision for medical aid within the jail premises while the barracks held more prisoners than capacity .
The inmates also charged jail authorities with not taking them to court for hearing of cases against them on fixed dates which, they said, hampered the legal process.
Justice Kaul directed the jail superintendent to ensure that the human rights of inmates were not violated, besides ensuring fulfilment of demands pertaining to medical aid and sanitation.
During his visit to the holy city, Kaul also paid obeisance at the Golden Temple. Talking to media persons later, Kaul said that at present 11.51 lakh cases were pending in the courts of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. "Around 5,000 to 7,000 fresh cases are admitted every year," he said. He added that efforts would be made to ensure that the pending cases were settled at the earliest.
Kaul said that as against 68 posts of high court judges, there were around 41 judges at present. He added that the pending cases could be decised at the earliest if the number of judges reached around 50 to 55.
"As many as 150 judges have been appointed in the district courts, which would go a long way in deciding the pending cases," he said.