Notice on plea seeking rules for ill inmates

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the Central and state government on a plea by a Tihar jail inmate’s widow, seeking directions for framing guidelines for prisoners suffering from chronic diseases like cancer.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher issued notice to the union home ministry, Delhi government and Tihar jail superintendent and sought their reply by January 14, 2013.

In her plea, Neha Singh, whose husband died of cancer while in custody in Tihar jail, alleged criminal negligence on the part of the jail doctor and others, leading to the death of her husband in August 2010.

The petitioner sought the court’s direction “to lay down guidelines or policy in regard to differential treatment of Tihar jail inmates or patients who are suffering from chronic diseases like cancer, TB, heart ailments and AIDS”.

Neha’s husband Manjeet Singh, lodged in Tihar in a case of kidnapping and dacoity, had in 2007 complained of face swelling and pain.

Since October 2007, he had made repeated requests to jail authorities to take him to hospital for medical examination, but this happened only in mid-2008.

The plea further added that the hospital report had confirmed that he was suffering from cancer, but jail authorities had not taken any substantial effort to arrange for treatment, which led to his death.

The petitioner also sought directions to the government to come out with a policy in regard to treatment of inmates, whereby poor accused are not required to pay from their own meagre funds.

She further sought compensation of Rs 10 lakh for her husband’s death and Rs 3 lakh for expenses incurred in his treatment.

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