In Tihar, Inmates Live at Jail Officials' Mercy: Court
Custodial torture and hostilities of jail authorities towards inmates have made prisoners to live at their "mercy", a Delhi court has said while dealing with a case of a convict serving life sentence here.

The court, which dealt with complaint of an inmate fearing threat to his life from the custodians of jail, also said an ordinary prisoner has no chance before the "mighty institution of prison" to get redressal.

Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau made these observations while dealing with plea of Anil Kumar, who was shifted to Rohini jail from the high-security Tihar jail.

Kumar, who was earlier associated with the elite National Security Guards (NSG) and convicted in a murder case, has made the complaint of custodial torture in Tihar jail but later preferred not to pursue it saying it would create more problem than solving it during his remaining jail term.

Though, the court had shifted Kumar, it said its order would not come in the way of jail authorities in inquiring the matter of custodial torture.

"I have considered the submissions made by the convict (Kumar). This court is not oblivious of the circumstances and hostilities which exist within the prisons and also realise that an ordinary under trial prisoner/convict stands no chance before the mighty institution of prison being at the mercy of these officials.

"Merely the complainant/convict (Kumar) does not wish to pursue his complaint being apprehensive, this should not come in the way of the jail authorities for inquiring into the allegations of custodial torture and in case if allegations are found to be correct, for proceeding against the erring officers," the court said.

During the hearing, DIG (Prisons)     R N Sharma told the court that jail authorities would make independent inquiry at their level on Kumar's complaint.

In his complaint, Kumar alleged he was harassed by jail officials as he had written a communication to the court earlier on behalf of those who were convicted for killings of Dalits in Mirchpur in Hisar district of Haryana regarding their harassment by certain officials.

During the adjudication of his plea, Kumar told the court that he had already spent 10 years of his life in jail and wants to complete the remaining period in peace. He said he did not wish to pursue action against jail official as they would naturally become "inimical" to him.

During the hearing, the DIG (Prisons) assured the court that he would take a stock of the "punishment issued by the deputy superintendent" to the Mirchpur case convicts.

"I have considered the submissions made by R N Sharma (DIG) in terms of which complaint of the convict (Kumar) is hereby disposed off as not pressed with liberty to the prison administration to make independent inquiry into the incident and action taken (if any) thereafter under intimation to this court," Lau said.

Kumar had also told the court that he had surrendered to the jail on March 30 after he was given a month parole from the Delhi High Court but a deputy superintendent had allegedly threw a mug of boiling hot water on his private parts.

After Kumar's complaint about the March 30 incident, the court had also called for a report from the jail authorities in which they alleged that Kumar was under the influence of alcohol when he came back from parole.

The court thereafter had directed the DIG (Prisons) to appear before it and produce Kumar's original medical records with directions to save the March 30 and 31 footage of CCTV installed at the entry to the jail.

After the DIG failed to do so citing various reasons, the court observed, "since the case involves serious allegations against jail officials the possibility that these documents i.E., the original OPD ticket of the convict Anil and the CCTV footage have been deliberately withheld from the court being incriminating, cannot not be ruled out," it said.
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