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Bombay High CourtIndian Cases

Rana Sidram Jangi And Ors. vs The State Of Maharashtra on 4 December 1991

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Bombay High Court
Rana Sidram Jangi And Ors. vs The State Of Maharashtra on 4 December, 1991
Equivalent citations: 1992(2)BOMCR56, (1992)94BOMLR893

B.N. Deshmukh, J.

1. An application was received in this Court from the petitioners regarding some illtreatment meted out to them by the jail authorities. Shri Patil was appointed amicus curiae for the petitioners. He has filed Regular Petition. His main grievance is that the scale of ration fixed for individual prisoners is violative of Article 21 of the Constitution of India, inasmuch as, the requirement of each individual prisoner is not taken into consideration, but the prisoners are supplied food on the basis of general scale fixed which, according to him, is in violation of the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

2. The second ground of challenge is that there is no machinery prescribed to consider the grievance of individual prisoner regarding insufficient quantity of food which may be supplied to him as per scale fixed.

3. There are Affidavits filed on behalf of respondents by Senior Jailor as well as by Under Secretary (Law), Home Department, Mantralaya, Bombay.

4. In the Affidavit-in-Reply dated 22 August, 1991, the grievances of the petitioners that they are not given diet as per scale is denied. This diet is fixed as per the Maharashtra Prison (Diet for Prisoners) Rules, 1970 vide Appendix of diet scale Nos. 1 and 2. The scales are annexed with the Reply as Exhibit R-1. In the Affidavit dated 4th October, 1991 filed by the Under Secretary in the Home Department, it is mentioned that, the Government of Maharashtra had received as far back as in the year 1960 a Report containing recommendations of All India Jail Manual Committee who had prepared Model Jail Manual. Most of the recommendations of All India Jail Manual Committee are under implementation in the State of Maharashtra. While preparing Maharashtra Prison (Diet for Prisoners) Rules 1970, which provide diet scales for different types of Prisoners, the Maharashtra Government had considered the diet scales recommended by the All India Jail Manual Committee. So also, the Government of Maharashtra had also consulted Department of Nutrition of the Government and the diet scales for prisoners were prescribed and finalised after considering the recommendations in Model Jail Manual and suggestions of the Nutrition Department, and also after considering the views of the Inspector General of Prisons. In the Affidavit, it is reiterated that on the basis of all this material, the diet scale was fixed.

5. Having regard to this, it cannot be said that the scale is arbitrarily fixed. There is nothing brought out in the petition also to hold that the fixation of diet is made without taking due care and caution and without having any rational between the health of the prisoner and the nutrition required. From the contents of the Affidavit dated 4-10-1991 it is clear that, after taking opinion of the experts, considering the recommendations of All India Jail Manual Committee and that of the Nutrition Department, the scale is fixed. The scale, therefore, cannot be said to be arbitrarily fixed so as to violate the provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

6. Shri Patil argued that, diet fixed as per the scale may be insufficient in the case of a particular prisoner having regard to his regular requirement. According to him, there is no remedy provided in the statute in this respect. The statute, according to him, does not enable him to approach any authority to make his grievance, nor any authority is empowered to consider such a grievance of the prisoners whose requirement of diet is more than the prescribed limit.

7. Rule 54 of the Maharashtra Prison (Diet for Prisoners) Rules, 1970 deals with complaint about shortage of food. If the food is not supplied to the prisoner as per the scale, then he can make a complaint to the jailor and after enquiry, he shall arrange to make good the shortage as per the scale. The provisions of section 54, therefore, do not help the prisoner, whose requirement is more than and above the prescribed scale. Rule 54 enables the jail authorities to consider the grievance only if, the diet supplied to the prisoner is less in quantity as per the prescribed scale, that shortage can be made good under the provisions of Rule 54.

8. In the Affidavit dated 3-12-1991 of the Under Secretary, which is filed today before us, it is mentioned that the prisoners are checked by the Medical Officer on duty from time to time right from the admission and they are being supplied with the diet as per the prescription given by the doctor on finding of less weight of the prisoner. There is provision for recommendation of extra supply of diet to the prisoner under Rule 22(i) and (ii) of the Maharashtra Prison (Diet for Prisoners) Rules, 1970. It is further clarified that the said Rule empowers the Medical Officer to advise extra or special diet for any prisoner out of hospital in accordance with the requirement of the prisoners health.

9. Rule 22 of the above said Rules provides for extra provisions for prisoners not in hospital on medical advice, and it states that the Medical Officer may recommend extra or special diet for any prisoner out of hospital in accordance with the requirements of the prisoners health. The extra or special diet shall be entered in From I. It, therefore, cannot be said that statute does not provide any machinery for making a grievance regarding insufficiency of food. Even as per rules, the Medical Officer can recommend extra or special diet for any prisoner though he is out of hospital depending on the requirement of the health of the prisoners. The prisoners, therefore, have a right under Rule 22 to make a grievance with the Medical Officer regarding requirements of the food above or more than the scale prescribed depending on the health of such prisoners.

10. The petitioners and/or any other prisoners have a remedy to approach the Medical Officer for getting his recommendations for extra or special diet even more than the scale prescribed as per the requirements of the health of individual prisoner. The machinery prescribed by the rules which can be availed of by the prisoners when they find that the food supplied to them, even as per scale, is insufficient for their health.

11. We appreciate the assistance given by Shri Patil in this matter. In the result, the petition accordingly disposed of.