Handcuffing UTP under treatment: OHRC seeks report within four weeks

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Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Tuesday directed the principal secretary, state Home department, IG (Prisons) and the Police Commissioner to submit the inquiry report relating to handcuffing of an under-trial prisoner (UTP) of Jharpada Circle Jail, while he was under treatment in Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, within four weeks.

The directive of the Commission came after accepting a petition filed by well-known advocate Biswapriya Kanungo and advisor of Campaign Against Fabricated Cases and convener Narendra Mohanty.

Drawing the attention of the Commission, the petitioners had said Kishor Kumar Jena, an UTP of Jharpada Special Jail, was admitted into Capital Hospital on April 8 this year in a critical health condition because he had not taken any food in the jail since March 30 protesting inordinate delay in
conclusion of his trial.

While he was under treatment in medicine ward, his right hand was handcuffed and it was tied with a thick iron chain with the hospital bed. There were also other patients in the same ward. The photograph of such violation of human rights has been published in the Odia daily Nitidin on April 9.

Referring the provisions of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India, the petitioners had said in the present position of law, if handcuffing is prima-facie illegal, arbitrary and harsh, it is worse to say handcuffing to a prisoner in a hospital bed, can in any way be permissible under human justice vis-a-vis detention jurisprudence as contemplated under the aforesaid articles of the Constitution.

Considering the above, the present case of handcuffing to Kishore is prima-facie cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment and as such the matter reveals a concern of violation of human rights,” the petitioners said and urged the Commission to direct the state government to order a probe into the case and provide compensation of Rs 5 lakh and punish the erring officials for their overt act and a suitable recommendation for necessary instructions in the matter.

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