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Delhi HC refuses to interfere with Delhi govt’s policy to cap jail visits


New Delhi, Feb 20 (IANS) The Delhi High Court has refused to make any intervention in the Delhi government’s policy decision on limiting the prison visits by the inmates’ and undertrials’ family members and legal advisors to twice a week.

The high court’s decision came while it was dealing with a PIL challenging ‘Rule 585’ of the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018.

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad said: “In matters of policy, the courts do not substitute its own conclusion with the one arrived at by the government merely because another view is possible. Therefore, this court is not inclined to pass any order issuing writ of mandamus.”

The court also noted that the Delhi government had taken the decision on the basis of the number of undertrials and prisoners incarcerated.

“… therefore, the same cannot be termed completely arbitrary,” the court said.

The High Court further noted that the government’s decision was arrived at after consideration of the facilities available in prisons, availability of staff and the number of undertrials.

The plea the HC was dealing with had sought an amendment to the rules “to allow interviews with legal advisers to be open from Monday to Friday for an appropriate allotted time, with no cap on interviews per week”.

The plea also stated that limiting the number of meetings “is in violation of some Articles of the Constitution”.

The state government, meanwhile, in its response said that Delhi has 16 jails which house over 18,000 prisoners against its capacity of 10,026, adding a decision on capping the number of visits was taken on the basis of the number of inmates.

It was further contended that providing two legal interviews to a prisoner can be increased on the request of a prisoner or visiting counsel and it does not fall foul of the Constitutional right of the prisoner.

Representing the Delhi government, Additional Standing Counsel Satyakam said that according to the Model Prison Manual, 2016 and the Prison Rules of other states filed, there is no other state where prisoners are allowed visitation more than two times a week.



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