Mumbai: Observing that prison management and security as well as safety of inmates is a policy matter,the Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by alleged LeT operative Abu Jundal, seeking a direction to jail authorities to not keep him in solitary confinement.
Jundal, who was arrested in June last year for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 terror attack and the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, is presently lodged in the same cell where Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was lodged in the Arthur Road prison in central Mumbai.
Jundal petitioned the HC seeking to be transferred out of the cell and not be kept in solitary confinement. “The applicant (Jundal) has been kept in solitary confinement since six months. Due to this, he is depressed and thus not able to think clearly. Like all undertrials, Jundal should also be kept in common barracks and allowed certain privileges,” the petition states.
The Maharashtra government opposed the petition saying he was kept in solitary confinement due to security reasons. A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel accepted the government's contention and dismissed the petition.
“Is it the right of the accused to say where he should be lodged ? These are all policy matters. Some anxiety has been expressed and hence this decision has been taken to keep him in solitary confinement,” the bench said.
It added that the security of prison and its inmates and its management are all policy matters and the jail authority is solely responsible for it. “Any measure taken by them (authorities) cannot be interfered with by this court,” the court added.
Before the lower court, Jundal in his application had claimed that he was hallucinating about Kasab who was hanged to death.
The lower court had directed for a psychiatrist to check up Jundal. The jail authorities, however, said that Jundal was mentally sound following which the court rejected his application.Jundal then moved the High Court.