Current AffairsIndia

Can physical mulaqaat during COVID-19 for undertrials take place with visitor in mask, PPE kit: Delhi High Court asks Jail Authority

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Director General (Prisons) if physical mulaqaat for under trial prisoners can he held during the COVID-19 pandemic subject to the visitor wearing masks/PPE kit gear.

The query was put considering the assertion that not all families may have access to the gadgetry required for effective e-mulaqaat through virtual mode.

A single-judge Bench of Justice Prathiba M Singh remarked that PPE kits work effectively and there was no shortage of them and directed counsel for the Director General (Prisons), advocate Gautam Narayan, to seek instructions on whether or not such physical meetings for 30 minutes once a week could be permitted for undertrials.

The order was passed in the petition preferred by Delhi riots accused and Pinjra Tod members – Natasha Narwal and Devanagan Kalita, seeking prison reforms.

During the course of the hearing, Narwal and Kalita who were present before the Court through video conferencing from jail, said that during physical meetings, there was anyway no physical contact between the visitor and the undertrial as there is a fibre wall in between.

The two batted for availability of “diversity of options” to undertrials to speak with their family members as they may not be from the same economic strata.

Narwal and Kalita also sought access to a functional computer centre in their jail complex in order to enable undertrials to check for updates on their cases.

The Court recorded their assertion that although ten systems were available in the jail complex, they were not operational.

The Court accordingly asked Narayan to seek instructions on steps taken to make such centres operational with internet access to court websites, FIRs etc.

Towards this end, the Court also suggested installation of e-sewa kendras in jail complexes to allow undertrials to access court orders while avoiding the probability of them browsing tiger websites.

The Court further asked Narayan to seek instructions on installation of computer systems with internet in the legal aid room for effective assistance.

Advocate Adit Pujari appeared for Kalita and Narwal.

The matter would be heard next on May 3.

 

Source
Via Bar & Bench
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