Taking note of the recent incident in which a woman inmate of Byculla Jail was assaulted allegedly by six prison officials leading to her death, the Bombay High Court on Friday said the issue of security of prisoners in jails across the state needed to be reviewed.
A bench of Justice R M Sawant and Justice Sadhana Jadhav was hearing a petition filed in 2016 by one Shivaji Tukaram Choudhary, who is currently lodged in Pune’s Yerawada jail, raising concerns over poor conditions of the prison.
The bench said although several petitions had been filed on upgrading condition of jails, considering the death of Manjula Shetye, the issue of security of inmates must be focused on.
Pradeep Bhalekar, a city resident, has also filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Bombay High Court seeking “legal action against the Nagapada police for poor investigation and inaction on part of its officials who are probing Shetye’s death”.
According to the petition, the Nagpada police are “fabricating and manipulating medical evidence in the case” and trying to destroy other evidence in the case in order to “protect the Byculla jail authorities”. It seeks that the court look into the condition of women’s prisons across the state.
The petition claims that following Shetye’s death, several inmates started a protest in the prison but the police have failed to record their statements and are instead, threatening them. The petitioner has sought that the court transfers the probe into Shetye’s death to the state Criminal Investigation Department. The PIL seeks a vigilance committee to monitor activity of prisons in the state for the welfare of its inmates and betterment of the jails.