‘Hear prisoners before passing any order on them’
New Delhi: A sessions court has cautioned magisterial courts to ensure that undertrial prisoners are heard before judicial orders involving them are passed.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) SS Rathi cautioned the courts while disposing a plea by militant Daya Singh Lahoria of separatist Sikh outfit Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF), objecting to his branding by a police official as a convict in the case relating to the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.
Relying on Lahoria's description as a convict in the assassination case and a securioty threat, the Delhi chief metropolitan magistrate had allowed police to take him to Ludhiana to attend a hearing in a court there on October 4 and 5, 2011, in handcuffs and fetters.
Lahoria had also sought action against the police official for dubbing him a convict in the assassination case.
"The (magisterial court) order reveals that it was not passed in the immediate presence of accused/UTP (Lahoria). As per the order, neither the undertrial prisoner was personally present nor any opportunity of being heard was given to him through his counsel," said ASJ Rathi.
"It is imperative on the part of judicial courts to grant an opportunity of being heard in such like matters to the undertrial prisoner against whom such like orders are being passed in line with the principle of natural justice," the court said.
The court, however, refused to take any action against the police official saying he had described Lahoria as convict relying on an intelligence report and the oversight occurred in discharge of official duty by him.