Delhi HC moved over acute shortage of staff in capital's jails
New Delhi, April 18 (IANS) A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was on filed in the Delhi High Court on Monday, seeking direction to fill vacancies of medical officers, paramedical staff, welfare officers, counsellors, teachers, yoga instructors, vocational counsellors and other staffers in jails in the national capital.
In the plea, petitioner, advocate Amit Sahni said there is an acute shortage of prison staff and particularly all posts of educational, correctional staff, psychiatric social workers and psychologists are lying vacant for a long.
Delhi Prisons are facing a 20.25 per cent staff shortage, the plea said, contending that the Supreme Court and the High Court have taken a serious view of the pending vacancies in jail staff.
The plea contended that the shortage of prison staff is a reason for inadequate management of Delhi jails and many times the same leads to violence upon the errant inmates by the jail staff.
"Out of 46 deaths in Delhi jails in 2019, 35 had died of natural deaths, while investigation is pending in at least 11 cases. Further in 2018, there were 33 natural deaths and 8 unnatural deaths, according to the NCRB data, which is yet to release prison records data for 2020," it stated.
It also stated that Rule 81 of the Delhi Prison Rule 2018 is not complied with in Delhi Jails, which provides that in principle, there should be one guarding staff for every six prisoners. There are about 18,000 prisoners lodged in Delhi jails and the requirement of guarding staff is 3,000 into 3 (for three shifts) but Delhi jails have an acute shortage of the guarding staff and the same results in hindrance in prison administration.
"The recommendations of All India Committee on Prison Reforms (Mulla Committee 1980-83) constituted for the issues of prisons administration in the Country and which were followed by the Model Prison Manual formulated by the Government of India, have not been followed in Delhi jails and more particularly regarding recruitment of pending vacancies, training to Superintendents and other staff, the grievance of staff and their promotions, etc "the plea read.
Emphasising that the petitioner has filed several petitions pertaining to jail issues and the court has granted indulgence in several matters by issuing directions to the authorities concerned, Sahni, in his plea, quoted Nelson Mandela's famous lines: "It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones."