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Prisoners don’t cease to be humans, entitled to all fundamental rights: Justice Magrey

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Srinagar: Prisoners should be provided all basic facilities as they do not cease to be human beings and are entitled to all fundamental rights, Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh said on Tuesday.

Justice Magrey directed the officers to provide all the basic facilities to inmates in jails.

He emphasised that a prisoner does not cease to be a human being and while being lodged in a jail, he is entitled to all fundamental rights, an official spokesman said here.

Justice Magrey, who is the Executive Chairman J&K Legal Services Authority, chaired a meeting to discuss how to ensure that the undertrials and convicts are not denied the basic fundamental rights while they are in custody.

The meeting was attended by Additional Chief Secretary Home R K Goyal, DG Prisons H K Lohia and other senior officers.

During the meeting, Goyal apprised Justice Magrey about the existing facilities available for the detenues in different prisons of J-K and the improvements made in the near past, the spokesman said.

It was informed that against the sanctioned capacity of 3,629 in 14 jails of the UT of J&K there are as many as 5,148 inmates. Therefore, the average occupancy rate of prisons in J&K is 142 percent, he said.

However, it was also informed that the government is considering raising the infrastructure to ensure decongestion in jails.

Justice Magrey was informed that in 2022, a total of 425 e-mulakats were held between the inmates and their relatives.

The agenda of the meeting was ‘Access to Justice’ for persons in custody/detention, review of prison population and overcrowding, counselling and rehabilitation of prisoners, the spokesman said.

“It was resolved that the government shall make all the endeavors to provide quality food, proper medical care and appropriate space in the jails for legal aid clinics so that the detenues are not deprived of the legal assistance,” he said.

Justice Magrey was informed that five IGNOU study centres are functional in five jails while it was also resolved that IGNOU study centres shall be established in the remaining jails also.

Justice Magrey also impressed upon the participating members to increase the frequency of counselling of the prisoners and ensure their proper rehabilitation after they are released from the prisons, the spokesman said.

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