A Delhi court extended till October 17 the judicial custody of senior Congress leader and former Union minister P Chidambaram in the INX Media case. However, it accepted his request for home cooked food once a day.
Chidambaram had moved an application on October 1 before Special Judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar seeking permission for home cooked food. The court had issued notice to the CBI and Tihar jail authorities.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the CBI, told the court that he had “no objection to Chidambaram’s application” and would rather give his consent for the same.
However, the jail superintendent submitted that serving Chidambaram home cooked food would be tantamount to discrimination against other prisoners. The superintendent, Central Jail no 7, quoted rule 619 and 635 of Delhi Prison Rules which prohibit outside food. The Tihar jail authorities also submitted that an inmate is allowed to meet visitors only twice a week, and if the applicant is allowed home food at least once a day, it would require daily contact with the prisoner.
Chidambaram was represented by senior counsel Kapil Sibal, Abhishek Singhvi and Dayan Krishnan. They submitted that Chidambaram had an inflammation in the digestive tract, and had noticeable weight loss.
The judge perused the reported submitted by the Central jail superintendent, which showed that Chidambaram weighed 69.5 kg compared to 72 kg earlier. The report also showed that Chidambaram was clinically stable, his vitals were within normal limits and he has been prescribed medication. The jail authorities submitted that they paid attention to required nutrients in a person’s daily diet.
“From the medical record shown by the applicant, it is apparent that the applicant is suffering from multiple ailments. He is 74 years of age… In these circumstances, it may be conducive to his health condition that he is provided home cooked food once a day…,” Special Judge Kuhar said in his order.
The court said this order shall not be taken as a precedent.
It also directed the SP of Tihar jail to take care of Chidambaram’s safety and ensure the food from home is checked and supplied to him.
SC to hear bail plea on Friday
New Delhi: The Supreme Court will on Friday hear a plea by former finance minister P Chidambaram seeking bail in the INX Media case. Chidambaram moved the top court on Thursday contending that his continuing incarceration is in the “form of punishment”, and that liberty of an individual cannot be denied on the basis of “anonymous and unverified allegations”. The bail plea has been listed before a bench of Justices R Banumathi and Hrishikesh Roy. Stating that “bail is the rule, jail is the exception”, Chidambaram said courts should frown on the attempt of the prosecution to use judicial custody as “a kind of pre-trial punishment”. —ENS