HC directs reconstitution of study committee to examine condition of prisons

Gangtok, 23 Nov:

In a move to examine the condition of prisons in Sikkim, the High Court, after hearing a PIL, has directed the State Government to notify the proposed study committee afresh after including members suggested by the High Court.

On 27 October, the Home Department had constituted a six-member committee headed by Law Remembrancer/Secretary as Chairperson in compliance with the order of the Court.

During the hearing of the PIL, the successful implementation of Open Air Jail facility in Himachal Pradesh and the modalities of its functioning were mooted by Sudesh Joshi, Amicus Curiae, and adoption of a similar programme here with a view to bring convicts back into society after serving their jail-term suggested.

In light of this proposal, the State Government nominated Senior Superintendent of Police, State Central Prison, Rongyek, as Member Secretary, Deputy Superintendent of Prison, District Prison, Namchi, Assistant Superintendent of Prison, State Central Prison, Rongyek, Assistant Superintendent of Prison, District Prison, Namchi and IK Basnet, (Retd.) Senior Superintendent of Prison as members of the study committee.

The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vijai Kumar Bist and Justice Bhaskar Raj Prahan observed that except one of the members, Legal Remembrancer/ Secretary, Law Department, all are from Police Department and some more members should also be added in the committee.

The Court said that after discussion with the learned Amicus Curiae and the learned State Counsel, the court decided to direct the State to include counsel Tashi Rapden Barfungpa, Advocate Zola Megi, Advocate and Anita Nirola, Senior Journalist in the committee.

The court directed the committee to submit its report within three months.

The court also directed the State Respondents to pay a sum of Rs 50,000 each to all the three persons suggested by the court and also to former Senior Superintendent of Prison.