P&H HC | Court casts obligation on Home Secretary and directs State to improve living conditions of the inmates of jails in Punjab

Punjab and Haryana High Court: A Division Bench of Rajiv Sharma and Harinder Singh, JJ. allowed the petition seeking a survey to be conducted for the functioning of jails in Punjab and the living conditions of the inmates.

The petitioner was a doctor posted in Central Jail, Ludhiana. The petitioner found grave irregularities in the functioning of the jail, such as poor quality and insufficiency of food, unhygienic cooking conditions, and kitchen staff suffering from a number of diseases. Furthermore, there were no proper supply of medicines and the inmates were charged exorbitant prices to avail of the hospital facilities, drugs and injections. The lack of proper medical aid resulted in the deaths of the inmates. The petitioner filed for a Public Interest Litigation (‘PIL’) praying for an independent investigation into the functioning of the jails of Punjab especially in the district of Ludhiana, and prayed for orders to improve the same.

Upon investigation by a Special Investigation Team, a report was submitted along with suggestions for the improvement of certain facilities. The present Bench upon considering the suggestions directed the State to maintain hygienic living conditions in the jail, and the kitchen. The Court also directed to provide the inmates with sufficient and hygienic food, and all the inmates suffering from diseases to be transferred to separate cells. An obligation was imposed upon the CMO and the Home Secretary for implementing the orders of the court.[Swarandeep Singh v. State of Punjab, 2019 SCC OnLine P&H 2185, decided on 31-10-2019]

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