Blade slashings: HC for security in jail van

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the city police chief to deploy adequate personnel while taking undertrials from Tihar to different courts following a plea by an inmate to check incidents of blade slashing in the jail van.

Last Updated: Sep 14, 2011, 21:27 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked
the city police chief to deploy adequate personnel while
taking undertrials from Tihar to different courts following a
plea by an inmate to check incidents of blade slashing in the
jail van.
A division bench of Chief Justice Deepak Misra and Justice
Sanjiv Khanna directed the police commissioner to provide
adequate staff in jail van within 10 days and Tihar
authorities to supply twin blades instead of surgical blades
to barbers employed by it to ensure that surgical blades do
not reach the prisoners.

"We hope the Commissioner of Police will take the matter
seriously and take action accordingly," the bench said while
hearing a PIL initiated suomotu by it on receipt of a letter
from a Tihar inmate that incidents of "blade bazi" (blade
slashing) in jail van have been reported frequently.

According to the undertrial, he obtained information
through an RTI application that 56 such cases have been
reported between 2005 and 2009.

The court`s order came after the Deputy Inspector
General (Prison) R N Sharma, who appeared following its
earlier order, submitted that the jail authority has taken
several measure to avoid entry of blades inside the jail
premises.

Sharma told the bench that the jail authority had procured
deep search metal detectors, besides 250 CCTV cameras which
will be installed by November 15.
According to the DIG, two body scanners have been
installed on trial basis for a thorough search of each inmate.

The earlier system of issuance of coupons to prisoners
would be shortly replaced with the smart cards so that
whatever items the prisoners buy from jail canteen would
be known to the higher officials, Sharma said.

In addition, the senior officer informed the bench that
at times it was found that the blades were supplied by family
members of the undertrials in the fruits and food items
specially in the vegetable curry.

"Now, the jail authority is allowing only dry fruits
and cooked dry vegetables," Sharma said.

Further supply of sedatives for psychiatric patients in
jail have also been streamlined as blades were found with the
sedatives," he added.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions alleging the
jail authority`s failure to restrict use of mobile phones and
other itmes including blades by inmates endangering the
lives of other prisoners.

Meanwhile, in yet another petition from an inmate it was
alleged that the jail authority has prevented them from
obtaining clothes, shoes and other articles from relatives
which is arbitrary.

It was also alleged that in Tihar canteen besides egg, no
other non-vegetarian food items was available for the
prisoners.

Citing the Bombay High Court ruling allowing the jails to
provide non-vegetarian food twice a week to the prisoners, the
petitioner said the decision of Tihar jail is against the
prisoners` fundamental right to live. PTI PNM According to
the DIG, two body scanners have been
installed on trial basis for a thorough search of each inmate.

The earlier system of issuance of coupons to prisoners
would be shortly replaced with the smart cards so that
whatever items the prisoners buy from jail canteen would
be known to the higher officials, Sharma said.

In addition, the senior officer informed the bench that
at times it was found that the blades were supplied by family
members of the undertrials in the fruits and food items
especially in the vegetable curry.

"Now, the jail authority is allowing only dry fruits
and cooked dry vegetables," Sharma said.

Further supply of sedatives for psychiatric patients in
jail have also been streamlined as blades were found with the
sedatives," he added.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions alleging the
jail authority`s failure to restrict use of mobile phones and
other items including blades by inmates endangering the
lives of other prisoners.

Meanwhile, in yet another petition from an inmate it was
alleged that the jail authority has prevented them from
obtaining clothes, shoes and other articles from relatives
which is arbitrary.

It was also alleged that in Tihar canteen besides egg, no
other non-vegetarian food items was available for the
prisoners.

Citing the Bombay High Court ruling allowing the jails to
provide non-vegetarian food twice a week to the prisoners, the
petitioner said the decision of Tihar jail is against the
prisoners` fundamental right to live.

PTI