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Delhi HC suo motu issues notice to gov't over condition of undertrials

The Delhi high court yesterday issued notice to the central and Delhi governments on the deplorable conditions of undertrial prisoners, including women and the mentally challenged, in jails here.

A division bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw asked for responses to filed by March 5.

The bench took suo motu cognizance of the issue after the Supreme Court asked it to decide the matter.

The apex court deciding the public interest litigation (PIL) in November 2014, sent a reference to the high court in January to decide the issue pertaining to Delhi.

The Supreme Court had dealt with the PIL that raised the issue of the plight of undertrial prisoners, who are languishing in jails without trial for a very long period.

The apex court had issued certain guidelines to improve the conditions of undertrial prisoners.

The Supreme Court had also observed that while some work has been done by the concerned state governments and other authorities towards implementation of the apex court directions, a lot more remains to be done in the future.

The apex court had asked all high courts of India to register a PIL and continue the proceedings, and issue directions in accordance with law that may be considered necessary.

It directed that “while examining the issue of touching the rights of undertrial prisons, especially the females and the children with them, the high court may examine the question relating to the rights of mentally challenged undertrials”.

The Delhi high court has also been dealing with two PILs relating to ensuring minimum human rights to the inmates of Tihar Jail.

Due to a large number of undertrials cramped in unhygienic conditions, they are being affected by numerous diseases in the jail premises.

Tuberculosis and other contagious diseases like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, typhoid are common in Tihar jail premises, the PILs have revealed.

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