More than 15,000 prisoners are lodged in Tihar Jail, with numbers increasing every month. But the country’s largest jail has no physiotherapist to handle medical complaints of prisoners.
During a hearing on the issue at the Delhi High Court Friday, standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra informed Justice Mukta Gupta that no physiotherapist is currently posted at any of the jails, and that two-three trained persons will soon be made available by an NGO.
Irked by this, the court directed the Delhi government’s secretary, health, to work out how many trained physiotherapists are required in the capital’s three prisons—Rohini, Mandoli and Tihar. “The secretary of the health department will inform, within four weeks, further action which he proposes to take,” the court said, adding that each jail complex requires physiotherapists, keeping in mind the number inmates lodged.
Jagtar Singh Hawara, who is serving a life sentence at Tihar for conspiring to assassinate former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, had moved the High Court and sought special facilities for treatment of his back pain and other spinal problems.
The court had asked Tihar to apprise it about the number of physiotherapists and machines available for physiotherapy at the jail dispensary. It had also sought to know if the equipment is in working condition and if trained physiotherapists are available.
Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Hawara, said, “This is an appalling state of affairs, that there are no trained physiotherapists in the jails, and attendants who are not qualified or trained are asked to give treatment through machines and massages to affected inmates.” He added that prisoners have to be taken to other hospitals in case any of a medical issue.
During the hearing, counsel Mehra told the court that over 20 machines related to physiotherapy are in working condition at both Rohini and Mandoli jails.
The court asked the department concerned to file a status report before the next date of hearing, October 23.