IN ITS detailed order rejecting the bail application of three Byculla woman jail staffers accused of murdering inmate Manjula Shetye, the sessions court has observed that jail staff had no authority to beat up an inmate in any manner and for any reason. Shetye, an inmate serving a life term, was allegedly assaulted by six Byculla jail staffers after which she died on June 23.
Last week, the court had rejected the bail application of prison guards Vasima Shaikh, Bindu Naikode and Surekha Kakad. According to the prosecution, the assault on Shetye — who was a warder — had taken place over distribution of eggs and bread in the jail. A co-inmate had alleged Shetye had given her broken eggs after which the staffers began assaulting her.
“Apparently, there are remedies under the law for breach of duty by a warder in jail which could have been adhered to by the jailor if there were any complaints against the victim (Shetye). And by no stretch of imagination, the jail staff has the authority to beat up the inmate in any manner and for any reason,” additional sessions judge Shayana Patil said in her order. She said the gravity of the offence was enhanced as it was an instance of “brutality as well as abuse and misuse of authority by public servants”.
“Moreover, it is an instance of brutality by merciless beating by women police of a woman inmate staying under their control and for whose protection they are employed by the state. The alleged manner of the incident, by continuous beating of the victim by six female police at a time for about 15-20 minutes also adds to the severity and brutality of the act, especially when the victim as well as the inmates were helpless to protest or intervene,” the court said.
The court also rejected the contention of the three seeking bail that their role was “minor”, observing that they had not tried to intervene by appealing others to deter them from beating Shetye. firstname.lastname@example.org