Srinagar, January 31, 2016 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, the High Court Bar Association in a report has said the detainees are highly depressed and frustrated due to lack of adequate legal aid, facilities for arranging escort to attend the courts on due dates, proper medical facilities, food and lodgement problems The court conducted its annual visit of various jails in Jammu. Various teams of Bar visited Central Jail Kotbhalwal, District Jail Ambphalla, District Jail Udhampur, Kathua and Hira Nagar jail in Jammu in the last week of January 2016.
Specific orders were issued by High Court Bar Association for jail authorities to allow the Bar members to have interaction with detainees, under-trials and convicts, a statement issued by Bar said. The team observed that the detainees booked under various cases are in a highly depressed mental condition and feel frustrated due to lack of adequate legal aid, facilities for arranging escort to attend the courts on due dates, proper medical facilities, food and lodgement problems.
“Various detainees narrated their case histories indicating that they have been booked in cases, when a number of witnesses are declared ‘protected witnesses’, their names are not disclosed to them on the pretext security reasons and the statements are recorded in chambers which are not made available to them.
“The number of witnesses is so large that it may take decades to complete their trials. The detainees have been detained under NIA Act, which is a Central Act, succeeding draconian laws like TADA, POTA and ULA (P) Act, which contains provisions with sweeping powers to police,” the statement said. “The committee observed that most of the detainees booked under draconian Public Safety Act are booked for political considerations and are innocent. Some of the detainees have been booked under PSA orders issued concurrently to defeat the judicial process,” the statement added.
“It was observed that the committee appointed under the orders of High Court headed by District Sessions Judges are not visiting the jails regularly and co-opted members of these committees do not accompany the District Judges. The orders of the Court providing for creation of posts of Medical Affairs in every jail have not been implemented so far in all jails,” the statement observed. “The quality of food and other facilities need improvement, besides there is an urgent need to provide telephone facility to detainees to have a frequent interaction with their family members,” it added.
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