No e-mualqat for inmates with families abroad due to security concerns, Tihar Prison Delhi HC says | Wbactive

In a plea, activists moved from Pinjra to death Natasha Narwal and Devangana Kalita The search for a facility for video calling for inmates of Tihar prison whose families are abroad, the prison authority told the Delhi High Court on Friday that it was not foreseen for “security reasons”.

A single judge of the judiciary, Yashwant Varma, heard a pleading from Narwal and Kalita, who along with Asif Iqbal Tanha were granted bail on June 15, 2021 following their arrest in the conspiracy case of unrest in north-east Delhi under the tough Unlawful Activities Prevention Law (UAPA).

When the matter was called on Friday, the petitioners’ lawyer said the lawsuit was filed when they were arrested in 2020 and most of the facilitations had been addressed. It has been argued that the only remaining issue is the availability of videoconferencing or “e-mulaqat” facilities for inmates whose relatives may be outside the country.

“We had said that screening of relatives can be carried out by the consulate concerned,” said the petitioners’ lawyer, adding that the state had not explained why a screening could not be carried out and “it was only said that it is a “safety concern”.

Delhi State Attorney said a status report was filed on September 17. The status report submitted by the Head of No. 6 Central Jail, Tihar Jail states that “Video call facilities/E-Mulakats are not provided for families of overseas detainees, however, once a week telephone voice communication is available with the detainee whose family members live abroad for security reasons , permitted on application.”

The report goes on to state that any foreign prisoner may have a court hearing in preparation for an appeal, or to obtain bail, or for any other legal purpose. The prisoner, like other prisoners, may be questioned in court twice a week.

“The foreign prisoners are also given consular access (in) accordance with the rules. Consular officials of a foreign country may visit or interview a prisoner to arrange legal representation for him or for any other purpose only subject to the approval of the relevant government agency,” the report said.

During Friday’s hearing, the Delhi State Attorney said prisoners could use the facility for daily calls, to which the petitioner’s attorney replied that due to the high fees, not all inmates might be able to use it (from Rs 400 upwards).

The Supreme Court then questioned the prosecutor and stated: “I can understand that the facility is being used for criminal enterprises. But for ordinary inmates…’ The petitioners’ lawyer then added that ‘there is no question of a security threat’.

The High Court told the Delhi State Counsel that the court wished to hear the matter and set it up for hearing on 9 February 2023.

While still in prison, Narwal and Kalita had moved the Supreme Court in April 2021, arguing that “physical mulaqat” had been suspended in Delhi prisons amid the rising number of Covid cases in the national capital, and prisoners only ” allowed”. e-mulaqat’ with family members three times a month for 15 minutes each. They used to be allowed eight physical meetings per month for 30 minutes each. The Supreme Court last year suggested increasing the e-mulaqat to four per month so that prisoners could take advantage of the once-a-week opportunity.

While Narwal told the court last year that the prison’s data center was non-functional, Kalita told the court that regular contact with family members is essential for prisoners and that family members of many inmates do not have smartphones due to the digital divide in the country. “Right now there is so much unemployment and loss of livelihood that their families have no money to buy data packages. That kind of minimal physical mulaqat should be provided to them,” she filed in court last year.

Kalita had also asserted in court that the process of approving a daily five-minute phone call was very lengthy and, on the other hand, required a postpaid connection that “prisoners from socially disadvantaged backgrounds cannot obtain”.

“There are inmates whose families don’t have access to e-mulaqat and don’t even have money to travel to visit them physically, but at least have a small phone with them,” she told the court, looking for ways to reach families to contact.

Amid multiple prayers, the two activists asked for a permanent facility for “e-mulaqat,” or video conferencing, from prison, to be timed at the same time as physical meetings; access to medical professionals; Access to resources for completing training, etc.

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