Tihar Jail Authorities and Delhi Govt. asked to disclose their policy regarding wrongful extra detention of prisoner

Central Information Commission (CIC): Tihar Jail Authorities and Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) has been directed by CIC to declare their policy in the form of citizen charter under Section 4(1)(b), (c) and (d) of Right to Information Act, 2005 explaining rights of prisoner in the jail especially with regard to remission and remedy for wrongful extra detention. It was further directed by the Commission that the said policy must elucidate as to the amount detainees will be entitled per day and explain the procedure to claim that compensation, on their website as required to be disclosed voluntarily under Section 4(1)(c) of Right to Information Act. These directions were issued by CIC while hearing an appeal filed by a person who was detained for 18 days extra in Jail. He sought compensation from Tihar Jail Authorities for the delay. Earlier, the appellant was convicted on November 26, 2013 for a period of one year simple imprisonment and fine under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act for dishonour of cheque for insufficiency, etc., of funds in the account. The release date of appellant was 24th October 2014. However, the appellant had contended before Commission that the release date was to be August 2, 2014 as per the remissions provided by the Jail authorities. The appellant had filed 36 RTI applications concerning the gross injustice meted out to him in Jail and the jail authorities, in reply to the various RTI applications, have admitted to all the remissions. The son of appellant corresponded twice for timely release of appellant but due to negligence of Jail authorities, release of the appellant was delayed. During the hearing, CIC referred to earlier judgments of Supreme Court and High Court and observed that State is vicariously liable for wrongs of employees. The Commission also noted that in plethora of cases, the Supreme Court has generated prisoner rights jurisprudence valuing the life and liberty of unfortunate people and held that State has to compensate for extra detention. While directing Tihar Jail Authorities and GNCTD to declare their policy explaining rights of prisoner in the jail especially with regard to remission and remedy for wrongful extra detention, CIC asked them to explain why they should not be ordered to pay suitable compensation for causing loss and for other detriment caused by denial of information. The PIO of Tihar Jail was also issued show-cause notice as to why maximum penalty should not be imposed against him for wrongfully denying the information to appellant. [O.P.Gandhi v. Tihar Jail, 2016 SCC OnLine CIC 3951, decided on July 25, 2016]

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