CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has issued a slew of directions for improving the condition of jails and inmates in Odisha.
The court on Thursday also directed the State government to set up a seven-member committee with the Member Secretary, Odisha State Legal Services Authority, as the convenor within 10 days. The other members will be Home Secretary, Principal Secretary of Law department, DGP or his nominee, DG (Prisons) and representatives of the Health and the Women and Child Development departments.
The court was adjudicating a PIL on problems in jails of Odisha. Senior advocate Gautam Mishra was appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in the matter. He shall be a special invitee to all the meetings of the committee, the court said.
The division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice AK Mohapatra directed the State government to ensure the committee holds its first meeting on January 10 and at least four meetings before March 8, 2022, the date fixed for next hearing on the matter. The court expected the committee to function as a nodal mechanism for implementation of its directions.
The court has issued the directions with the expectation that with all the measures envisaged being made operational, the prison population in Odisha is progressively reduced to manageable levels.
“As the experts repeatedly pointed out during the hearings that the problem of overcrowding in jails cannot be tackled on a piecemeal or ad hoc basis, it requires a whole slew of measures to be put in place to achieve that goal”, the bench observed.