Bombay High Court pulls up state govt over ‘vague’ steps to improve jails

“We do not think that even at the end of the six months the government would comply with all our directions. We will then take the government to task,” said Justice Oka.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:June 30, 2017 3:39 am

The Bombay High Court Thursday pulled up the state government for the “vague” steps taken by it to implement orders of the court relating to improving conditions of jails in the state.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and Vibha Kankanwadi had in March given directions to the government to improve the condition of prisons across the state.

“We had directed the government to form a committee and comply with our directions within six months. It has been four months now but we find the steps taken by the government are vague,” Justice Oka said.

In its earlier order, the court had directed the state government to set up a committee headed by a retired high court judge and experts as members to conduct a scientific study on setting up a model prison with necessary infrastructure and steps to reduce overcrowding in jails.

The court was hearing a plea of civil society ‘Jan Adalat – Centre of Para-Legal Services and Legal Aid,’ on the issue of condition of jails in the state.

“We do not think that even at the end of the six months the government would comply with all our directions. We will then take the government to task,” said Justice Oka.

The court had also asked the state government to identify land in Mumbai and Pune to construct additional prisons to reduce overcrowding at Mumbai’s Arthur Road and Pune’s Yerwada jails.

The state government in an affidavit filed on Thursday mentioned the steps it has taken so far on the issue.

“The principal secretary of Home department and ADG (Prisons) visited the Yerwada prison in Pune and it is submitted that the jail has area available where additional capacity, if needed, can be created,” the affidavit said.

It also mentioned that work is being carried out in Arthur Road jail and Byculla Women’s prison to increase the number of toilets and bathrooms.

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