The Delhi High Court has sought response from the Delhi government in a petition challenging the Delhi Prison Rule that restricts the right of inmates to consult a lawyer to two meetings a week (Jai A Dehadri & Anr vs GNCTD).
Notice was issued by the Division Bench of Chief justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh in the petition preferred by advocates Jai A Dehadri and Sidharth Arora.
The petitioners have challenged Rule 585 of the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 contending that it violates the right to access to justice as guaranteed to undertrials and convicts by virtue of Article 21 of the Constitution.
“The Rule arbitrarily caps their right to consult their lawyers to only twice in one week. The prisoners’ profile of Tihar Central Jail itself states that 82.02% of the total jail population are undertrial, therefore, the necessity of continuous legal support in terms of conference with lawyers and preparing further steps is only apparent,” the petition stated.
The petitioner, thus, prayed that the Prison Rules should provide for an interview with legal advisors from Monday to Friday for an unlimited number of times.
“Proper legal representation would not only ensure the basic human right of the prisoner but also ensure that an undertrial is provided with a swifter trial,” it was submitted.
It was also pointed out that other developed countries, such as the United States of America, do not have any bar on number of legal meetings with inmates.
The petition was filed through advocate Harshit Goel.
The matter would be heard next on April 4.