Elgar Parishad: activists' wives move high court against jail chief for withholding letters
Rama Teltumbde, the wife of Anand Teltumbde, an accused in the Elgar Parishad case, has filed a petition in the Bombay High Court alleging that the Taloja prison superintendent was deliberately withholding or belatedly posting letters and communication written by her husband to kin and lawyers.
Rama, in her plea filed through advocate R. Satyanarayan, said the prison superintendent was committing such acts since March this year after an article written by her husband on the Union government's plan to privatise some public sector enterprises was published in the Caravan magazine.
Her plea claimed the jail superintendent was not posting letters written by Teltumbde, nor was correspondence marked to her husband being delivered, which she said was a "malicious and inhuman act". The plea claimed the superintendent was doing the same with letters and correspondences of Teltumbde's co-accused in the case who are lodged in Taloja jail.
The plea was filed last week and was heard by a bench of Justices S.S. Shinde and N.J. Jamadar for the first time on Saturday.
Advocate Satyanarayan told the bench that Teltumbde's wife and lawyers had not received any communication from him since March this year.
In her plea, Rama Teltumbde said that after the said article was published on March 10 this year, the jail superintendent served a 'samaj patra', a sort of show cause notice, to the arrested activist, who replied that the article had no relation to the Elgar Parishad case, and, therefore, it did not breach any law.
In his reply to the 'samaj patra', Teltumbde also said the article was not part of political propaganda, nor did it comment on the prison administration.
The plea said Teltumbde sought a copy of the 'samaj patra' and his reply to it but the request was turned down by prison authorities.
Rama Teltumbde said she and her husband's lawyers as well as co-accused had written several letters to the jail superintendent but had not received replies, which forced her to file an RTI application seeking a copy of the 'samaj patra' and the arrested activist's reply to it.
Her plea said the superintendent was acting in gross violation of his official position and duties, adding that all prison inmates have statutory and fundamental rights that enable them to exchange letters, communicate with family, friends, and lawyers.
She urged the high court to direct the superintendent to allow Teltumbde and his co-accused to write to and receive letters from family and lawyers, and also sought an inquiry against the official for his action.
On Saturday, NIA counsel Sandesh Patil told the court he was yet to receive a copy of the plea, after which the high court directed advocate Satyanarayan to serve the copies to the NIA and the state.
Susan Abraham, wife of Teltumbde's co-accused Vernon Gonsalves, is a co-petitioner, and has also claimed that communication to and from her husband was withheld by the jail superintendent.
The court is likely to hear the plea further on July 6.