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Delhi Court reserves order on Satyendar Jain plea for food

The Special Judge Vikas Dhull on Thursday decided to keep the order reserved and fixed it for pronouncement tomorrow after hearing the lengthy arguments.

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New Delhi: The Special Court on Thursday kept the order reserved on a plea moved by jailed Delhi Minister Satyender Jain seeking direction to provide food as per his religious beliefs during his judicial custody.

The Special Judge Vikas Dhull on Thursday decided to keep the order reserved and fixed it for pronouncement tomorrow after hearing the lengthy arguments.
In its reply, Tihar Jail Authority stated that our administration supplies a balanced and nutritious diet uniformly to all the prisoners lodged in Delhi Prisons irrespective of any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, sex etc.

Rouse Avenue Court

That the conjoint reading of the rule of the position of Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 nowhere determines that the fast keeping/observing by a prisoner may go for an indefinite period. As per general beliefs, there is a particular span of time/days for which a person usually keeps fast like in Navratras and or during Ramzan. Further, the rules provide religious fast and not a fast undertaken by an individual as per his own choice/liking, said Tihar.

The court on Wednesday directed Tihar Jail to provide the food to the applicant/accused Satyendar Kumar Jain, which is available under trial, if he is on a religious fast keeping in mind Rules 339 and 341 read with 1124 of Delhi Prison Rules, 2018.

Court had also sought a report from Tihar as to what food was being given to Satyendar Kumar Jain in the past six months, whether he was on a religious fast during the course of the previous 5-6 months and whether the diet, which was being given to him has been stopped during the past 10-12 days or not?

Tihar’s reply further stated that as per the jail record Satyendar Jain has not been taking any cooked food or cereal foods in the jail since his admission to the Jail by his own choice. He is only taking salad (cucumber, tomato etc.) and fruits like apples, oranges etc. on a payment basis from the jail canteen. The sale of these items is permitted within jail through the jail canteen.

It is pertinent to mention that these items are available to every prisoner lodged in the jail on a payment basis through their Prisoner Property Account. The Smart Card System has been discontinued and Biometric System has been introduced in the jail from the 2nd week of November 2022.

Tihar further stated that it is also wrong to expect the prison administration to give special treatment to an inmate(s) as the prison department provides a nutritional and balanced diet to all inmates without any discrimination on caste, creed, religion etc.

It may also be mentioned here that an irregularity of using the canteen Smart Card of another inmate by UTP Satyender Jain has been observed at Jail No.7, Tihar and the inquiry into it is under process and necessary action as per law/rules will be initiated, stated Tihar.

On the other hand, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra appeared for Satyendar Jain after reading Tihar’s reply and submitted that under what provision they say “I can’t go for indefinite fasting.”

“We’re in a country where everyone is free to profess their own religion. No one can actually stop me from professing my religion. I am not even getting basic food in jail, Do my human rights also take away?” he said.

Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra

Advocate Mehra further submits that on ‘massage’ they go on to say that Tihar has become a massage parlour. “Someone was just pressing my hand because I had a fall inside the jail. I am a Jain and have all my life only eaten after going to the temple and that’s the reason why I am on fast here. No one can actually stop me from professing my religion,” said Advocate Mehra.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for Satyendar also prayed to withdraw the plea and sought direction to restrain the media to air/broadcasting any clip of CCTV related to Satinder Jain. He said we are moving high court. On that, Special Judge Vikas Dhull allows their plea to withdraw it.

Earlier, Rahul Mehra also denied ED allegations of getting privileged treatment in Tihar Jail, he asked, “what privilege are they talking about? I have lost 28kgs in jail. Is this what a privileged person in jail gets? I’m not even getting proper food. What privilege are they talking about? There is no prison rule violated if an undertrial is pressing his hand, feet?.”

He earlier also submitted that they (agencies) have already put me on the gallows. Even Ajmal Kasab got a free and fair trial.

“I am surely not worse than that. All I seek is a fair and free trial. Please look at the kind of media reports that are running against me and that is in their interest,” Mehra submitted to the Court.

It was also informed to the court that multiple agencies are investigating how Tihar Jail was compromised for benefiting Satyendar Jain. The footage was also given to the counsel of Satyendar Jain.

On Saturday, Satyendar Jain moved Special court with an application seeking contempt action against Enforcement Directorate. Jain legal team alleges that ED has leaked the CCTV video despite the undertaking given in the court.

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