Jail visits of Bar Association …Jammu Jails…January 2015
Annual Jail Visit of District Jail Jammu
Conducted by a team of lawyers from the
High CourtBar Association
The jail visit was conducted in pursuance of the orders of the Hon’ble High Court in OWP No: 767/2006, case titled J&K High Court Bar Association v/s State of J&K &Ors. A team of members of the Bar Association visited the District Jail Jammu on 12.01.2015.The team tried to ascertain what kind of facilities of food, clothing, medical aid ,hygiene, sanitation, legal aid was available to the jail inmates. The visit was conducted by a team comprised of the following members:
- MrMohammad Ashraf Bhat, Adv …General Secretary – Bar Association
- Mr Anwar ul Islam Shaheen.Advocate Jt. Secretary – Bar Association
District Jail Jammu is located in the heart of the city of Jammu at Amphalla near Ranbir Government Press. The District Jail is officially declared to have a capacity to accommodate 400 inmates , but the number of inmates lodged on the day of visit was 483. This jail is definitely one of the overcrowded jails in the state and is bound to face problems arising thereof.
MrHarish Kotwal is holding the office of the Superintendent District Jail Jammu .It was informed that some foreign prisoners are reported to have turned insane and they are managed only by administering sedatives and psychotropic drugs and are never allowed to regain consciousness. The need for arranging psychiatric expert to care for the mental health of the prisoners was a requirement which needed to be attended to on priority. The prison doctor present there seconded this requirement. The need for psychological study of the behaviour of the inmates is a basic requirement of a modern day prison system which helps in applying correctional techniques and helps in reforming the individuals. In this regard the present day system of prison management is primitive ,crude and inhuman and falls much below the standards prescribed at International levels. The claim of improving the prison management is not visible in view of the lack of basic facilities and requirements. Although many reforms have been made during the years but the prison staff needs to be sensitised to the needs of the modern times.
The interview of the detainees was conducted in presence of jail staff . The detainees were called by the Jail Staff in batches and had interaction with the team members. The strength of the inmates category wise was hown as:
S.No Class of Inmates Male Female Total Remarks
- Convicts I. C/L 73 05 78
- Convicts I. C/L 15 01 16
- Convicts I M/R 05 00 05
- Condemned C/L 02 02 02
- Under trial C/L 358 10 368
- Under trials M/R 08 00 08
- Detenues C/L 06 00 06
(i) Total 467 16483
- The interview ith the jail inmates was conducted in presence of Jail Superintendent in his officeJameel Ahmad Awan S/o Mohammad Sadiq R/o Abotabad is a matriculate and was earlier lodged under J&K PSA and presently is under going trial before Principal Sessions judge Jammu total accused are ten eight are native of J&K and are on bail. He is in this jail since March 2010. Three orders of detention to regulate his presence issued under PSA have also expired so far. He does not have any lawyer in Jammu and his case was referred to legal aid committee but they have not come forward so far. The Challan was filed after 5 ½ years and there are eight more accused persons in the case whose presence has not been procured so far in the court. This has resulted in protraction of the trial. He fears that some people arrested in the case must have been killed extra judicially. He also reported that in this jail there are some inmates from across the border who have turned insane.The inmates who have turned insane are managed by administering psychotropic drugs and sedatives and they are seldom allowed to gain consciousness. The matter needs attention of the authorities and Bar may like to apprise the Hon’ble court about the plight of such detainees. Although there have been consular level meetings between the officials of India and Pakistan , yet their cases have not been taken up in that meeting.
- AbdulMajid S/o Mohammad Ahmad R/o Nawabshah Sindh narrated the same kind of story without complaining about any logistic problems. To that extent they appeared to have remain content with their fate. But they have shown their concern about the attitude of the escorting police and fellow inmates turning hostile against these foreign inmates. He is facing trial in a militancy related case before Sessions Judge Jammu in the same trial of Case FIR No: 3/2007 in which detenue Jameel Ahmad is facing trial. They are not allowed to receive letters or money orders to meet their petty day to day needs. The inmates are feeling insecure and depressed because of these incidents and the apathy of the authorities while neglecting attention and their security.
iii) Badal Sheikh S/o SubdalShie was arrested at his home in Mohampora District Malda West Bengal allegedly involved in fake currency this inmate of the jail has no complain against the jail authorities.
- iv) Fayaz Ahmad So Abdul RahmanRahter R/o AarabughAnngAnchidoora Anantnag is facing trial in a case pending before the Principal Sessions Judge Jammu allegedly involved in fake currency case .thegreviance of the Fayaz Ahmad Rahter is that he has never been questioned with regard to the alleged offences he was arrested on the behest of a person who had animosity with the family of Fayaz Ahmad Rather.
Iv) Abdul Rashid S/o Abdul Majid R/o Reasi has been convicted under section 302 of RPC and was awarded capital punishment which was latter converted into life imprisonment by the Hon’ble high court and his appeal his pending before the Hjon’be Supreme court.
- v) Gul Mohammad S/o Aalam Din R/o LadooraBasantGarh Udhampur was arrested on 26-12-2004 and was concicted on 27-04-2011 sentenced life imprisonment appeal is pending before the Hob’ble high court.
- vi) Aaqil Ahmad S/o Khadamhussain R/o MaganNad Poonch was arrested on 31-12-2001 and latter on granted bail 0n 09-09-2004 after he was convicted and awarded life sentence was again arrested on 07-05-2012 appeal against the conviction order is pending before the Hon’ble high Court.
vii) Mohammad Hussain S/o gh. Qadir R/o BasantGarh Udhampur was arrested in 2005 has been convicted and awarded life sentence appeal against the conviction is pending before the Hon’ble High Court.
viii)Bilal Ahmad S/o Abdul Rahman R/o Baramulla was arrested on 4th of November 2014 allegedly in fake curreny case
The problems faced by the detenues and prisoners can be discussed generally by identifying main problems at various stage. Like arrest and detention without any accountability, the initial shock and mental pressure on the arrested person and his family. Illegal torture, harassment and mental agony, Unfettered discretion exercised by the police and detaining authorities to detain him under draconian laws like PSA etc. The period of detention, the place of lodgement away from their homes , geographical region which has the effect of draining the resources of the family and putting them under extreme stress. The condition inside jails, water, food, clothing, entertainment , library, sports , information to prisoners, vocational activities, proper space and inadequate sanitation hygiene, medical facilities, psychiatric counselling to overcome stress and depression ; absence legal aid , non production in courts, attitude of the police and jail authorities & staff , treatment with relatives and interviewers, legal literacy- awareness about their rights and privileges. Problems faced by women prisoners, absence of proper grievance redressal mechanisms, hurdling of first time visitors with hardened criminals , maintenance and financial aid to poor detenues and their family members. Compensation for wrongful confinement.
The condition of prisons, holding within their confines prisoners, undertrials and detainees held under preventive and special laws has been the concern of Bar Association for the last two decades.
After interacting with the inmates, the team members have come to the conclusion that the prisoners of J&K lodged in these Jails suffer from a feeling of deprivation and helplessness. Being away from their home place, they are unable to have frequent interaction with their family members. They are not also able to meet their lawyers and receive medical care. They feel that they can be picked up anytime for any kind of treatment as the courts are more sympathetic towards the prosecution than the accused. It is therefore, the duty of everyone, including those who claim to provide free legal aid and assistance to the detenues and undertrial prisoners to come forward and help these prisoners. The Human Rights Associations/Groups/Organisations also required to take note of the happenings and come to the rescue of these prisoners. The Bar Association on its part has also decided to agitate the matter before the court of law to redeem the sufferings and miseries of these prisoners lodged in these Jails. This report is accordingly prepared and circulated to all the concerned for immediate necessary action.
- Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, Advocate, Secretary.
- Anwar-ul-Islam Shaheen, Advocate, Joint Secretary.
Copy forwarded to :
- Registrar Judicial J&K High Court, Srinagar, for placing the same on the record of O.W.P. No. 767/06 titled J&K High Court Bar Association versus State of J&K for the perusal of the Hon’ble High Court.
- To the Press for wide publication.
- Office file for record.