There are only two physiotherapists for over 16,000 prisoners lodged in the three jails in the capital, the Delhi High Court was informed Thursday. To which, Justice Mukta Gupta directed the Delhi government’s home department to ensure that adequate number of physiotherapists and physiotherapy machines are put in place for the inmates.
“Only two physiotherapists are assigned for three jails in the national capital. The department concerned of Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi is directed to take necessary steps to ensure that adequate number of physiotherapists and machines are put in place for inmates,” the court ordered.
The direction came after the court commissioner, appointed to inspect the physiotherapy units, said only two physiotherapists visit the jails. The judge, during her visit to Tihar Jail, had observed that ones which had machines did not have physiotherapists. She also ordered that an audit be carried out on the machines available. Standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for the government, conceded the numbers and said action will be taken in the regard.
Mehra apprised the court that the matter regarding constitution of board of visitors who carry out inspection of the jails is under process. He added that the relevant file is presently under consideration of the Minister of Home, Delhi government. “All efforts are being made for issuance of notification on constitution of board of visitors at the earliest,” Mehra added. To which, the court directed them to file the progress report by the next date of hearing.
The court in its April 30 order had noted: “It is beyond comprehension that out of the prison population of 10,500 in Tihar Jail, 1,651 prisoners in Rohini and about 4,500 prisoners in Mandoli only 11 prisoners in Tihar in 3 days and 12 prisoners in Rohini and 2 prisoners in Mandoli are availing the facility of physiotherapy. So, in total 25 prisoners are availing the facility of physiotherapy in a week.”
The matter came up before the court after Mehmood Topiwala, facing life term for his involvement in the 1994 kidnapping of foreigners, moved the court seeking treatment for his back ache. He had also told court that while jails have physiotherapists in adequate numbers, the machines do not work.