New Delhi: A prime accused in 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts case has approached the Delhi High court seeking a direction that he be provided publications on homoeopathy free of cost in jail for studying as he was too poor to afford them.
The move came after attempts by Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui to get the books from Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), Delhi by filing an RTI plea failed with Central Information Commission (CIC) rejecting the request.
The Delhi High Court today directed the Centre and city government to respond to the plea of Siddiqui, currently lodged in the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.
Issuing notice to the governments, Justice VK Jain sought their response by January 31, 2014 on the plea seeking direction to supply copies of all 45 books published by CCRH, Delhi.
On February 4 this year, Siddiqui had written a letter to the Delhi High Court Chief Justice claiming his right to study the medical books after his request was rejected by CCRH and CIC.
The high court, earlier, had converted the plea into a PIL and appointed advocate Sumeet Pushkarna as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.
Siddiqui in his plea said the prisoners are not ordinary citizens and special consideration is required for his application under RTI for copies of all books.
"Because prisoners are unable to access the public domain due to several restrictions on them. Provide all 45 publications free of cost with soft copy considering special circumstances of the petitioner," he had said.
In his letter, Siddiqui said that last year he had filed an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act but the CCRH turned his request down on the ground that these were "priced publications" and hence could not be given out free of cost.
Siddiqui`s request for soft copies was also turned down, citing the copyright laws.
He said that as he fell in the below poverty line category, which was verified by the Bombay high court registrar, he should be given this information free of cost.
He further said that since a prisoner is not allowed to do any business to earn, the state must ensure that he is provided the publications.