The Delhi High Court has refused to allow an inmate suffering from an ailment to wear jeans and sports shoes inside Tihar jail, saying his fundamental rights are guarded but being in jail, they are subject to reasonable restrictions. Asadullah Akhtar is accused of being involved in a conspiracy and has allegedly executed blasts in the country. He is alleged to be a close associate of banned terror group Indian Mujahideen’s co-founder Yasin Bhatkal.
Akhtar moved court stating that despite suffering from atopic dermatitis of both upper and lower limbs, he is not being allowed to wear jeans and sports shoes. He had stated that it is his fundamental right to wear clothes of his own choice.
Justice Mukta Gupta, however, said: “Grievance of the petitioner (Akhtar) is not that he has not been given dignified food to eat or clothes to wear or there was any misbehaviour violating his fundamental rights, but he seeks to wear clothes specifically of his own choice, particularly jeans and sports shoes, which are prohibited in jail. Though the petitioner’s fundamental rights are guarded, but being in the prison, the said rights are subject to reasonable restrictions.”
“Further, atopic dermatitis, a chronic eczematous skin disease, is a condition of the skin where the skin is dry and causes ruptures in the skin in acute phases. Thus, doctors who treat atopic dermatitis prescribe patient to wear loose cotton dresses. Therefore, Akhtar’s claim that jeans make him feel more comfortable is totally baseless and unfounded,” the court said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Akhtar, who faces six FIRs and has also been chargesheeted by the NIA. Examining his plea, the judge observed that the “rationale behind not permitting the undertrials or convicts to wear sports shoes with spongy/padded ankles is that there are chances of concealment of prohibited materials in them”. The judge further explained that metal buttons in jeans can mask detection of other metallic items.