CUTTACK: Medical facilities in jails across Odisha have come under the scrutiny of the Orissa HC following the submission of reports by the district legal service authorities (DLSAs). The DLSA authorities revisited jails in their respective districts on April 30 and May 1.
After analysing the reports of the secretaries of DLSAs, Amicus Curiae Gautam Mishra had placed a convenience note before the court. Taking note of it, the division bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice RK Pattanaik has ordered for filling up all vacant posts of medical officers in jails across the State.
The State Counsel submitted that the Home department had already issued a letter on March 29, 2022 for creating posts of 18 regular medical officers in different jails.
However, the bench observed, “The Director-General of Prisons will have to take personal effort to ensure filling up of all the vacant posts at the earliest.” In his note, the Amicus Curiae had pointed out that as many as 16 sub-jails need considerable improvement as regards the medical facilities available. The deficiencies are either due to the absence of a full-time medical officer within the jail premises or insufficient hospital beds in proportion to the prison population.
Likewise, mental health professional care and facilities are not available in the district jail Angul, sub-jail Balliguda and sub-jail G. Udayagiri. The visits of psychiatrists and counsellors to the sub-jail at R. Udayagiri is stated to be very irregular.
The sub-jails at Dasapalla, Ranpur and Khandapara have to depend on outside hospitals for mental health care support, the Amicus Curiae said. The State Counsel also submitted that on May 4, 2022 instructions were issued in this regard to the chief district medical officers at Balasore, Kandhamal and Kendrapara for taking appropriate action. The bench observed that “similar instructions are required to be issued to other jails and sub-jails as well.”