Tihar DG assures Delhi HC, cellphones of inmates will be seized

New Delhi: The Tihar jail authorities on Tuesday assured the Delhi High Court that all cellphones from inmates would be confiscated.

Appearing before a Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur, Director General (Prisons) B K Gupta assured the court that appropriate steps would be taken within three days.

Gupta also told the Bench that no visitor would be allowed to carry a cellphone during meeting hours with the prisoners.

"All cellphones shall be confiscated and kept in the safe custody to be handed over to the convict or undertrial prisoner on his release...," said Gupta, who was summoned following a letter received from Chief Metropolitan Magistrate along with a report prepared by ACP Sanjeev Yadav about the growing use of mobile phones by the inmates.

The senior officer also said that there have been cases where the convicts and undertrials were found talking on mobile phones.

"Crime cannot be allowed to be perpetuated by the inmates. Everyone expects to have an orderly society. A civilised society expects good governance which means adequate law and order situation and peace...," the Court said while disposing of a PIL.

The Bench said "... the jail administration has a major role to see that no inmate facilitates any kind of criminality in the society".

The Bench accepted the submission made by Gupta that landlines were available for prisoners to make calls to their relatives.

"We are absolutely conscious that communication is an essential part of life. Even an undertrial prisoner and a convict have the right to communicate but there has to be discipline in the jail...," said the Bench and expressed displeasure that despite the installation of CCTV cameras and jammers in the jail, cellphones were being used by inmates.

The Bench had on May 17 summoned the DG (Prison) and sought an explanation as to how the inmates were allowed to use the phones.

The CMM had ordered an enquiry by Yadav after an undertrial came to the courtroom with a SIM card hidden in his mouth and lodged a complaint with the court that cellphones were being used inside the jail.