The Delhi High Court has on Wednesday criticized the Delhi State government and Tihar jail authorities while hearing a compensation petition on the alleged murder of a 23-year-old undertrial, Dilsher Azad, who was found dead in Tihar jail.
The bench headed by Justice Prathiba M. Singh expressed shock at the murder of a Tihar Jail undertrial who was knifed to death inside the prison, saying that such things are only seen in fiction.
“I don’t know how something like this can happen. It is shocking. We see such things only in fiction,” said Justice Singh while hearing a plea moved by the victim’s father seeking Rs 5 crore as compensation for the custodial death of his son.
Further, while asking the Respondents i.e., the state of Delhi, the Director-General, and the Superintendent, Tihar Jail to clarify whether any FIR and charge sheet has been filed with respect to the incident, the court directed the Delhi Police to file a status report within 3 days.
The court also asked the jail authorities for the relevant CCTV footage of the incident and observed that in such cases the footage must be seized and confiscated immediately.
As per sources, Justice Singh also pointed out that the period of storing such footage needs to be extended.
“I had visited the Tihar jail once, and they have a very small-time limit for which they preserve the CCTV footage. Nowadays we have cloud servers, so the issue with storage space is not there anymore. We should increase the time for storage of CCTV footages,” Justice Singh said.
The court also said that the victim’s father is kept informed about the developments in the investigation or trial of the case.
The undertrial youngster, Dilsher Azad’s father, Ali Sher, in his plea filed through advocates Anwar A. Khan and Vishal Raj Sehijpal, said that his son was an undertrial prisoner in Tihar Jail since September 2019 and was allegedly murdered by inmates.
Sher said that on 30 November 2020, he received a call from police officials informing him about the death of his son, but when he reached the jail, the prison authorities did not cooperate with him and he was not informed of the real cause of death.
After Sher called a lawyer, he was informed that his son was stabbed to death with knives. The body was handed over on 1 December 2020.
Sher had written complaints and sent representations to the Human Rights Commissioner, Lt. Governor, the Chief Justice of Delhi high court, the Delhi chief minister, and DG of Prisons, for action against the erring officials and for compensation, to no avail.
The high court directed the prison authorities, represented by Delhi government additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose and advocate Naman Jain, and the police to file a status report indicating whether an FIR has been lodged in connection with the incident and if so, the status of the investigation.
The matter has been further listed for hearing on March 5.