Delhi HC orders committee formation to improve healthcare facilities in jails

NEW DELHI | Updated: 25 December, 2023 7:10 pm IST
Delhi High Court (Represenational Image)

NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court passed an order to constitute a committee to improve healthcare facilities in the national capital’s jails, on Monday.

The HC’s order was passed in lieu of Amandeep Singh Dhall’s interim bail plea in the Delhi Liquor Excise Policy scam. He had moved the court on the grounds of medical ailment under counsel of senior lawyers, N Hariharan and Tanveer Ahmed Mir.

After hearing both sides of the argument, the Delhi HC allowed him to undergo treatment at Safdarjung Hospital. The court also ordered the constitution of a committee to improve the health of the prisoners.

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“The Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Government of NCT of Delhi will constitute a Committee which apart from him will include the following, Director General (Prisons), The CMO of the Delhi Prisons, Two senior Jail Visiting Judges of the District Courts to be nominated by the Principal District & Sessions Judge (Central District), The Secretary, DSLSA, Sanjay Dewan, Advocate, Ms. Gayatri Puri, Advocate. The committed will give suggestions, regarding improving the health care facilities in the prisons and ways to promote equal health care to all prisoners, within a period of one month to this Court. The committee will also specifically inform the Court as to whether facilities are available in the jail hospital to deal with emergency situations such as cardiac arrest, haemorrhages etc. as the first few minutes in such eventuality are crucial to save the life of a person,” read the order copy.

Mir had argued that Dhall was arrested on March 1 and since then was lodged in Jail No 7 of Tihar Jail. Following which, he argued that his client had sought an extension on the duration of medical examination and treatment at the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre which was dismissed.

The HC directed the jail authorities to ensure that the applicant was provided with the treatment as prescribed by the concerned doctors. The counsel also argued that there were lack of medical facilities in the jail.

“There are not enough facilities in the jail hospital for providing effective medical treatment to my client in terms of regular physiotherapy sessions as prescribed by the concerned doctor at ISJC and lack of facility in jail hospital for administering epidural steroid injection/and other necessary procedures for C3-C4 joint of the applicant. My client is required to be released on interim bail since effective and adequate medical treatment in terms of post-epidural care is not being provided in the jail premises,” Mir argued.

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Furthermore, the court observed that Dhall had been discharged from the spinal hospital on November 20, for the treatment of Annular tear and stenosis.

According to Dhall’s medical report, he has been advised to continue medication and physiotherapy, considering his symptoms.

“This case serves as a reminder that the quality of medical care within correctional facilities must be held to high standards, with a focus on the well-being and rehabilitation of inmates. The State Government has a moral and legal obligation to ensure that the healthcare needs of inmates are met with the same diligence and commitment as any other citizen. This Court observes that Government of NCT of Delhi is responsible for the management and maintenance of the prison premises. Since, it is crucial to have appropriate medical care system in the prisons which meets the requirements of the inmate patients,” the HC order said.

Special Counsel for the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Zoheb Hossain, vehemently opposed the application, arguing that Dhall had been receiving appropriate treatment within the jail premises. Therefore, they argued that he did not require to be released on interim bail.

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