Orissa HC asks DMs to make surprise visit to jails

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Cuttack, Mar 13 (PTI) The Orissa High Court has directed all district magistrates to make surprise visits to jails in their respective jurisdictions and submit reports about the condition of the prisons.

Adjudicating over a 15-year-old writ petition after receiving a recent report submitted by the Amicus Curiae in this matter, the high court has expressed shock and concerns over the precarious conditions prevailing in various jails of the state.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S Muralidhar on March 9 directed all district magistrates to make surprise visits to the jails in their respective jurisdictions and submit reports detailing jail conditions, overcrowding, food, accommodation and recreation of inmates.

'Preferably, these visits (of the DMs) should be unannounced', said an order passed by the high court fixing April 27 for the next hearing. The state government, in the meantime, has been asked to arrange at least one medical visit to each jail and submit a report on it.

The high court has also sought cooperation from Odisha State Legal Aid Services Authority and the High Court Legal Aid Services Authority for the execution of jail reforms in Odisha as suggested by the Supreme Court in its judgements passed in 2016 and 2017.

Based on Amicus Curiae Gautam Mishra's report of at least five deaths of inmates in Odisha jails during the last five years, the high court has asked the government to inform the court separately as to what actions have been taken in each of these deaths.

The government will also inform the court by the next date as to what instructions it has issued with regard to discontinuance of handcuffing the prisoners in jails or while bringing them to the courts. Handcuffing the prisoners has been banned by the Supreme Court in several judgements, the high court said. PTI COR AAM RG RG