The High Court of Tripura Wednesday heard a petition on a complaint filed by a district judge on ‘barbaric and unusual’ frisking of undertrial prisoners in Tripura’s Khowai Sub-Jail, located 50 kms from Tripura.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjoy Karol and Justice Arindam Lodh directed the state government to ensure that inmates of all jails are searched as per provisions of jail manual, if any, keeping in light human dignity and maintaining absolute privacy.
“At this point, we only direct, that under all circumstances, inmates of all the jails within the State of Tripura shall be searched only in accordance with the provision of the Jail Manual, if any, and under all circumstances keeping in light the human dignity, maintaining absolute privacy. Also, the state shall forthwith take steps against the erring officials and file affidavit”, the High Court Division Bench said in an order.
In the district judge’s complaint, he wrote, “……on February 13, 2019, few undertrial prisoners who were produced before court made an oral complaint to me that two wardens and a Havilder of Khowai Sub-Jail used to misbehave with the Under Tribal Prisoners.”
“……whenever the under trial prisoners return to Jail in the night from Court the wardens and the Havilder compel the Undertrial Prisoners to remove their garments one by one in the name of checking in security purpose”, he wrote in letters to the High Court on February 15 this year.
The district judge said he verified the complaint and found the practice ‘shocking’, ‘disgusting and ‘barbaric’ and sought intervention from the High Court saying, “Situation within Jail is very alarming, if the situation is not brought under control, very shortly anything may happen”.
The Court also said that the complaint raised vital issues on the manner in which inmates of jails are being treated in Tripura.
Law Secretary Datamohan Jamatia could not be reached for his comments on the subject.