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LONG ARM OF LAW

TT: What does the law say on inmates seeking medical treatment in custody?

Saxena: The jail manual provides for treatment of inmates in a jail

What medical facilities are available in jails?

All jails are equipped with a small hospital depending on the number of inmates. A doctor is on duty 24x7. In case of special needs, inmates are treated outside

What is the procedure for seeking treatment outside jail?

The inmate has to apply to the superintendent who verifies it with the jail doctor. In some cases, the jail doctor may also recommend treatment outside

What happens if the jail refuses?

The inmate will then have to file a petition in court about his physical condition. The court will then decide

Can an inmate hoodwink the court by faking illness?

It is possible to produce medical reports in one’s favour by manipulating facts. But it has to pass the test of law. The court can verify the documents using another medical centre

But if an inmate fakes illness?

The court can send the inmate back to prison and direct action against him and officials who may have helped him

What about in-custody politicians taking refuge in hospitals?

The present trend is for influential persons to fall sick whenever they are sent to jail. But, a court can only proceed in accordance with the law and take action after following due procedure

Can the court take action on its own?

Yes, the court can. It can showcause an inmate or the authorities

Example?

Jharkhand High Court had ordered medical check-ups of politicians at Military Hospital in Namkum. These politicians were all sent back to jail after their reports were found to be satisfactory

Do you think there is a nexus at work in jails?

Not sure. But, few instances of the past point to the jail administration. Why is it that all influential people develop heart ailments soon after coming to jail?


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