SRINAGAR — Executive Chairman J&K Legal Services Authority, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey today chaired a high level meeting to discuss ensuring that the undertrials/convicts are not denied the basic fundamental rights, while they are in custody.
The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary Home, R. K. Goyal; DG Prisons, H. K. Lohia; Principal Secretary Estates Department, Alok Kumar, Secretary Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, Achal Sethi and Member Secretary, J&K LSA, M. K. Sharma.
During the meeting, ACS Home apprised Justice Magrey about the existing facilities available for the detenues in different prisons of J&K and the improvements made in the near past.
It was informed that against the sanctioned capacity of 3629 in 14 jails of the UT of J&K there are as many as 5148 inmates. Therefore, the average occupancy rate of prisons in J&K is 142%.
However, it was informed that the government is considering the raising of infrastructure to ensure decongestion in jails. Justice Magrey was further informed that in the year 2022, a total of 425 e-mulakats were held between the inmates and their relatives.
The agenda of the meeting was Access to Justice for persons in custody/detention, review of prison population and overcrowding thereof, Counselling & Rehabilitation of prisoners.
It was resolved that the Government shall make all the endeavors to provide quality food, proper medical care and appropriate space in the jails for legal aid clinics so that the detenues are not deprived of the legal assistance.
Justice Magrey was informed that 05 IGNOU study centres are functional in 05 jails while it was also resolved that IGNOU study centres shall be established in the remaining jails also.
Regarding the shifting of the office of J&K LSA to some appropriate place, it was resolved that as and when the office of the Transport Commissioner is vacated after shifting to the new building, the Estates Department shall initiate the process of allotment of the said office space for the office of J&K LSA.
Justice Magrey while directing the officers to provide all the basic facilities to jail inmates emphasized that the prisoner does not cease to be a human being, while in jail and he is entitled to all the fundamental rights.
Justice Magrey also impressed upon the participating members to increase the frequency of counselling of the prisoners and ensure their proper rehabilitation after they are released from the prisons. — (KDC)