Rashid Paul

HC seeks personal appearance of Principal Secy Home to explain delay, if it continues

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Dismayed at delay in finalization of new jail manual for J&K…

Srinagar: The High Court has warned of personal appearance of the Principal Secretary J&K Home Department in case the latest report on new jail manual for the union territory is not filed.

A new jail manual was also necessitated following the scrapping of J&K’s special status and subsequent developments, including J&K having become a union territory, directly administered by the Union government.

Some writ petitions filed by certain political prisoners from Kashmir facing life imprisonment were also pending before the court pleading consideration of release in accordance with the provisions of J&K Jail Manual, 2000.

Hearing the matter on the new jail manual, the High Court has directed the senior additional advocate general (AAG) of the union territory to file the latest report on the matter within eight weeks.

“In case of failure the Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department, Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir shall remain personally present before this court on the next date of hearing,” directed the court.

The AAG informed the court that the jail manual is at the last stage of finalization.

The court observed that matter has been pending for quite some time now. “It is undisputed that the existing jail manual requires to be urgently looked into — which exercise is stated to have been undertaken and amendments have been made.”

The court had in April also ordered the Union Territory government to frame a new jail manual for the region and sought its submission within six weeks, failing which, it had threatened to summon the Home Secretary to explain the delay.

The court had passed the direction while expressing its ire over persistent delay in framing the new manual.

“This matter has been repeatedly adjourned at the request of Senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar on his submission that the new jail manual was at the stage of finalization and only formal approval had to be recorded,” the bench recorded.

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