Delhi Riots Judge to Inspect Jail If Grievances of Accused Persist

Several UAPA accused spoke repeatedly of denial of clothing, medicines, and not getting to meet their family.

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India
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Charred remains of a vandalised property set ablaze by rioters in Gokulpuri area of the riot-affected Northeast Delhi, Wednesday, 26 February.
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In a hearing under FIR 59, which is investigating the ‘conspiracy’ behind the Delhi riots, several UAPA accused and their counsels spoke repeatedly of denial of clothing, adequate medicines, discrimination and not getting permission to meet their family and counsels, in a hearing on 3 November.

Coming down strongly on jail authorities, additional sessions judge Amitabh Rawat took note of repeated applications being filed by counsels for ‘basic, important, but avoidable issues/grievances.’

Rawat repeatedly told the court that if the grievances raised were not resolved by the next date (23 November), he will himself visit the jail to inspect the conditions with the learned prosecutor and defense counsels.

The court order, accessed by The Quint, reads: “In case, the grievances or the issues are still not resolved by next date, the court will be compelled to take stock of the situation by the undersigned visiting the jail complex himself along with Ld prosecutor and Ld defense counsels.”

While Gulfisha Fatima’s lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, moved an application to get his client access to shoes and clothes, Ishrat Jahan’s lawyer and sister Sarwer complained of how she had slipped in the bathroom because of slippery footwear.

Sarwer said she was not being allowed permission to provide her sister with a different pair of slippers. Meeran Haider, on the other hand, said he was running out of clothes to wear.

The court order reads: “Almost all accused persons and their counsels complained about various aspects of denial of certain clothing, medicines or otherwise permissible things, by the Jail Administration, as per the jail rules. Different accused persons have highlighted their grievances, discrimination and their inability at times to get in touch with their counsels or their family.”

The court order notes that the constant complaints of the accused and the successive applications by counsels points to ‘issues regarding the administration of Jail complex as the applications for these accused persons have been made for basic, important, but avoidable issues/grievances.’

Other than stating that he will conduct a personal visit to jail premises, Rawat passed directions to the Director General (Prison) to take stock of the situation and ensure that all the issues/problems flagged by the counsel or the accused persons are heard, apprised and disposed off.

The order also adds, “In these circumstances, the court directs that the officer not below the rank of Additional Director General (Prisons) shall appear on the next date of hearing.”

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