Chennai: The Madras high court has made it clear that the State is bound to provide water, medical care, clothing and other basic amenities to the prisoners.
A division bench comprising Justices S.Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad was passing further interim orders on a suo motu Public Interest Litigation initiated pursuant to a direction of the Supreme Court.
A direction was sought to the authorities to award suitable compensation by identifying the next kin of the prisoners who have admittedly died an unnatural death, as revealed by NCRB during the period between 2012 and 2015.
When the case came up for hearing on Friday (November 2), the court appointed amicus curiae-Senior counsel R.Vaigai to assist the court in the matter relating to improvisation of medical and other facilities in prisons in the state, submitted a preliminary report and requested urgent orders on various subjects such as medical care, drinking water facility, sewerage facility, clothing, convicts with mental illness and such others.
Additional government pleader E.Manoharan submitted that the deficiencies/defects pointed out in the report would be looked into by the government and prison authorities and wherever possible, steps would be taken to rectify the same.
The bench said as per Article 21 of the Constitution of India, right to live with dignity was a basic human right of every human being. According to the amicus curiae, lack of police escort was stated to be a reason, for not providing adequate/suitable treatment to the prisoners in government hospital, despite the prison authorities requesting the government/police to provide escort.
"Having regard to the above issues touching upon the right to live with dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, we hereby direct the authorities to look into the above aspects, with due regard and importance and remedy the deficiencies/defects, immediately. Additional government pleader is directed to submit a detailed report, on the action taken on our above directions", the bench added.
Impleading the state health secretary as a Respondent in the case, the bench said, "As health issues are raised in the preliminary report, which we have considered and observed that the government have to with utmost importance to consider and act, and having regard to the values of life and dignity of a human being, whether a prisoner or not, we are of the view that Secretary to the Government, Health Department, Government of Tamil Nadu is necessary and proper party, for implementation of the directions of this court".
The bench posted to November 13, further hearing of the case....