The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Court order on jail conditions

Calcutta High Court has directed prison authorities to display boards in front of all the jails across the state declaring the number of prisoners, quality of food and clothing and nature of jobs being allotted to them.

Inspector-general of prisons (IGP) Joydeb Chakraborty was also asked on Friday to take necessary measures to stop extortion from the relatives of the inmates by a section of jail employees. The IGP, when contacted, however, said he was yet to receive the copy of the judgment. “We shall certainly act in accordance with the court’s order once we get the directive,” he added.

The order was passed by a division bench, comprising Chief Justice A.K. Mathur and Justice J. Biswas. It was in response to a petition moved by Subhas Dutta, general secretary of Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samity, in 1995, alleging that the atmosphere inside the Howrah jail was unhygienic and prisoners were kept under terrible conditions.

At the time of filing the case, the then bench heard the matter and directed public prosecutor of Howrah Court Chinmoy Chowdhury to visit the jail and file a report before the court. Chowdhury, in his report, corroborated the allegations of the petitioner and said that a section of employees was involved in harassing the relatives of the inmates by resorting to extortion.

Due to reasons unknown, the case was buried for seven years and came up for hearing only in August 2002 before the division bench. The IGP also submitted his own report.

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