In a PIL seeking adequate and clean drinking water and hygienic toilet facilities for inmates of Tihar Jail, the Delhi government Monday assured the Delhi High Court that it shall take “necessary steps” on the issue.
The submission was made before a division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad where the standing counsel for the Delhi government Santosh Kumar Tripathi said the issue will be definitely looked into after the court said this was a human issue. The HC thereafter issued notice to the Delhi government and the matter is next listed on April 14, 2023.
The plea has been filed through the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee–petitioner through advocate Dr Amit George, stating that the attention of the committee was brought towards these inadequacies by a prison inmate and which resulted in inspection of the premises of the said jail by a panel counsel of the committee on its instructions. “In the report prepared by the panel counsel, it was noted that adequate and clean drinking water was not being made available in the premises of the said jail,” the plea states.
As per the plea, the report also shows that the conditions of the washrooms/toilets were poor inasmuch as the same were broken and needed repair and even the door of the washroom was broken which was compromising the ability of the inmates to respond to calls of nature and carry out their daily ablutions in a hygienic and private manner.
Further, there was also a manhole in the premises which was filled with stagnant water which had begun to spill out of it. It was suggested by the panel counsel to the committee-petitioner that a plea for redressal of grievances pertaining to access to safe and clean drinking water as also for ensuring an overall hygienic environment in the premises of the said jail be filed before the High Court.
The plea states that the issue deserves consideration as the provisions of the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018, and Model Prison Manual, 2016, provides that prison inmates should be provided with “access to clean and adequate drinking water and that hygienic sanitary conditions be maintained in the jail premises”. It further claims that the right of access to clean drinking water and a clean environment free from contamination has been read into the Right to Life, envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It has been stated that “fundamental rights are equally applicable to all citizens, even prisoners and thus, continue to be retained by prisoners even within the confines of prison”.
The plea seeks a direction to the Delhi government to provide inmates adequate and clean drinking water, clean and scrupulously hygienic toilet facilities, to ensure that toilets come with a door to ensure privacy of inmates.
The plea further seeks a direction to the government to repair and, thereafter, periodically maintain toilets and the bathing space, to repair the drainage system and drain out the stagnant water out of the manhole, clean it and then close it.