Delhi HC seeks status report from Tihar on PIL seeking infrastructure for legal meetings

New Delhi [India], June 29 (ANI): The Delhi High Court on Monday sought a status report from Tihar Jail authorities on a PIL seeking directions to build infrastructure for legal meetings, either telephonically or through video conference, to ensure access to justice to the inmates.

Senior advocates Arvind Nayar, and Vikas Pahwa, appearing for petitioner advocate Sarthak Maggon, submitted that the right of representation through a counsel of your choice and to be able to seek remedies before the court require constitutional protection.

A division bench of Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan asked Tihar Jail authorities to file a status report on the matter and posted it for next hearing on July 7.

"This unprecedented difficult time is witnessing innovation everywhere including the method of seeking justice from our respected courts. The court has been extremely sensitive to the difficulties faced by the common citizens," Nayar said.

"We are now seeking the benefit of the same innovation for the inmates of the prisons located in Delhi as similar steps are being taken in other jurisdictions also, both domestic and international," he added.

The counsel appearing for Delhi, on instruction through a status report, submitted that legal meetings have been started for jail visiting advocates of the Delhi High Court Legal Services Committee (DHCLSC) with effect from June 22, and a pilot project to connect women prisoners of Jail number 6 has been initiated from June 24.

The counsel submitted that Delhi requires 10-15 days to set up the requisite infrastructure and shall also regularise the weekly meeting within a fortnight.

The court was hearing a plea seeking quashing of an order dated March 25, which suspended the physical legal meetings in Tihar Jail, saying that telephonic legal meetings were to be set up thereafter but no such set up has been provided so far.

This has led to delays in both access and administration of justice because both the advocates and inmates are struggling to establish a connection for the purposes of seeking appropriate remedies applicable under law thereby jeopardising their innate right to personal liberty and quality of life in the backdrop of a global pandemic, the plea said. (ANI)