A single judge Bench of the Delhi High Court, on September 13, ordered the Director General of Prisons to submit a status report enumerating the steps taken by Tihar Jail authorities to ascertain the safety and security of its inmates, hereinafter mentioned. Such direction came in light of the alleged murder of gangster Ankit Gurjjar in Tihar Jail.
In the present case, a petition was filed by 5 inmates lodged at Tihar Jail, who claimed to be eyewitnesses to the alleged murder of Aniket, and hence were apprehensive of their safety. Also, 2 out of the 5 petitioners are out on interim bail, and were the ones who informed the deceased’s family about the manner in which Aniket was, allegedly, murdered.
Aniket Gurjjar was found dead inside his cell block on August 4. Ensuing the incident, several high ranking Jail officials were also suspended.
The Court, while listing the matter for hearing on September 27, directed the DG, Prisons to:
- Ensure safety of the petitioners by keeping them under CCTV surveillance so that any ingress and outgress through their cell can be monitored.
- The Court also sough a status report elaborating the steps taken to streamline the CCTV system in the jail, and what recourse is available to the authorities in case any CCTV cameras are out of operation.
- Mechanism to ensure accountability on the part of Jail authorities and Jail doctors.
- Mechanism by which immediate entry shall be granted to the Police in case of a cognizable offence is committed with in the jail premises.
During the previous hearing of the case, the Court had transferred the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from the Delhi Police. During that hearing, the Court was of the opinion that immediate remedial actions vis-à-vis maintenance of security and safety of the inmates should be taken by the State and DG (Prisons), to avoid recurrence of such an incident. The Court also observed the delay in providing medical care to the deceased, which could have saved his life. Such negligence on the part of the jail doctors should also be subjected to inquiry, the Court had said.