MUMBAI: Amid reports of some jailed activists struggling to meet basic necessities in prisons, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday called for a “workshop” to sensitise prison officials. The court was hearing a plea related to the theft of spectacles of jailed activist Gautam Navlakha.
Navlakha is an accused in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case. His family had alleged that without his spectacles, the activist was almost blind but authorities at Taloja jail were not allowing him to get a new pair.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and M S Karnik said it had learnt about how Navlakha’s spectacles were stolen and the prison authorities refused to accept the new spectacles sent by his family through courier.
“Humanity is most important. Everything else will follow. Today, we learnt about Navlakha’s spectacles. This is the high time to conduct a workshop for even jail authorities,” Justice Shinde said. “Can all these small items be denied? These are all humane considerations,” the judge added.
Navlakha’s family members on Monday claimed that his spectacles were stolen on November 27.
They claimed that Navlakha is “almost blind” without the spectacles and yet, when they sent a pair of new spectacles to him by post earlier this month, the prison authorities refused to accept it and sent it back.
“Presently Gautam Navlakha is unable to see things around him and consequently his blood pressure has shot up,” read a statement, circulated on Monday evening by Navlakha’s lawyers, signed by his wife.
Earlier, the lawyers of Stan Swamy (83) had moved the special NIA court seeking that their client be returned the sipper and straw allegedly seized by the NIA at the time of arrest.
His hands shake while drinking water because of Parkinson’s disease, they said.