On Monday, 03 May 2021, the Delhi High Court issued directions to the Delhi Government and sought its responses on several issues in a plea filed by Natasha Narwal and others seeking certain reliefs, facilities and flagging other issues in Tihar Jail
The Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh dealt with a slew of issues and on most of them, issued direction to the ASC to obtain directions from the Delhi Government.
The major issues/ facilities that were sought are as follows:
- Tele-calling Facilities-
The first and the foremost issue which was highlighted by the Counsel for Petitioners was in respect of tele-calling facilities for prisoners who are under quarantine due to them having Covid-19 symptoms or having tested positive.
The Counsel submitted that the inmates did not have the access to telephone services daily and were allowed only once a week, which is insufficient for the prisoners who are quarantining as their relatives would be concerned about their medical condition.
In response to this issue, ASC appearing for the GNCTD, submitted that a separate mobile number has now been obtained to enable such prisoners to speak with their family. He further submitted that the Office of Superintendent of Jail is in fact intimating the relatives of the inmates as to their medical condition daily.
- Vaccination of prisoners-
The Counsel also raised an issue concerning the vaccination of the inmates in order to prevent an outbreak in the jail, as the jail is crowded. Considering that there are greater chances of spreading of the COVID-19 infection, within the enclosed premises of the prison, the Court directed the ASC to take instructions as to the vaccination policy, that is being proposed for vaccinating the inmates in the Central Jail-6, Tihar. At this stage, only 12 inmates who are over the age of 45, have been vaccinated.
Considering the current scenario and rapid rise in Covid cases, the Court held that physical mulaqats should be avoided, instead e-mulaqats should be commenced, for the safety of both, the prisoners, and their relatives.