The NHRC has issued notices to the Delhi government and the director general of Prisons over reports that a prisoner was sexually assaulted by fellow inmates in Tihar Jail, officials said on Monday.
The National Human Rights Commission has also decided to send its own team for an on-spot inquiry in the case, they said. The NHRC has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports carried on December 30 that a 22-year-old prisoner was allegedly sexually assaulted by fellow inmates at Tihar Jail, the rights panel said in a statement. Reportedly, the prisoner is under medical treatment, it said.
The contents of the media reports, if true, amount to the violation of the victim's right to life and dignity, the NHRC said. According to the notices issued to the chief secretary of Delhi and the director general of Prisons, the commission has sought a detailed report in the matter within four weeks. The report should include the present health status of the victim, action taken against the erring officers and the accused inmates as well as the steps taken and proposed to be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur in the future, the statement said.
The NHRC said it has issued several guidelines, advisories and recommendations in the past to improve many aspects of prison administration "but it appears that there is no perceptible change in the living conditions of the inmates in Tihar Jail since, intermittently, incidents of various types of their human rights violations including harassment, torture and sexual abuse are being reported and complained about". "The state, being the custodian of the inmates in the jails, is responsible for their safety and security as they are also entitled to human rights including the right to dignity guaranteed under the Constitution," it said.