The Gauhati high court on Wednesday directed the Assam government to provide cable TV connection to inmates of the central jail here so that they can watch World Cup cricket matches.
Justice AK Goswami set a five-day deadline while hearing a petition by Mohet Hojai, former chief executive member of a tribal council, and six other prisoners.
The prisoners’ counsel argued that watching television for news, sports and entertainment was a fundamental right within the purview of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. He pointed out that the jail did have a television set in the common room where the prisoners gathered, but was like a showpiece without any cable connection.
Goswami agreed that prisoners needed recreation for a healthy mind and asked the authorities to provide cable connection.
Hojai has been in jail after the National Investigation Agency had in November 2009 charge-sheeted him and 13 others in the alleged diversion of development funds of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council to the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel), a disbanded rebel outfit.
North Cachar Hills district in southern Assam was later renamed Dima Hasao, where the Dimasa tribe is in majority. District headquarters Haflong is 325 km southeast of Guwahati.
Guwahati Central Jail authorities did not specify if the other six prisoners include Hojai’s co-accused in the tribal council scam. “They are serving time for various crimes,” a jail official said, adding they would try to honour the court order as soon as possible.
“We might go for a DTH service if cable connectivity cannot be provided within the stipulated time,” the official added.