Tihar Jail ‘assault’: Delhi HC asks for CCTV details, jail report has none

Following allegations of 47 prisoners being assaulted at Tihar Jail last month, the Delhi High Court had directed jail officials to submit a “paragraph-wise” reply on why CCTV cameras were not working inside the prison and to medically examine the inmates. While the affidavit submitted by Tihar Jail — signed by SS Parihar, DIG (Prisons) — lists the nature of injuries, there is no mention of CCTV cameras and footage. During the hearing, the court had ordered jail authorities to give certain details — “when was it detected that CCTV cameras were not working? If they were not working, since when? Whether any complaint for repair was made? If yes, then when?”

The incident took place on September 14 at 6.30 am. The undertrials had alleged “human rights violations” and claimed they were “mercilessly beaten” by security personnel. Two separate writ petitions were filed, heard together by the division bench of Justice G S Sistani and Justice Chander Shekhar. One of the petitioners, undertrial Jamal — an accused in the 2015 Karkardooma court firing — had moved a plea seeking CCTV footage. Jamal’s lawyer Arvind Kumar said, “Jail authorities haven’t complied with the HC order dated September 26. CCTV footage details are not in the affidavit.”

The Delhi Police had earlier filed an affidavit in court, stating that CCTV cameras were non-functional “since September 13”. The “assault” took place the next morning. Police had maintained that two groups were involved in a scuffle. According to the FIR, “some prisoners” allegedly attacked jail officials, following which “minimum force was used on the prisoners”. The affidavit filed by Tihar Jail said two groups of prisoners “gathered near the temple and assaulted each other”. “Other mischievous prisoners, who were unable to come out of their wards, created nuisance by inflicting injuries on themselves,” it said.
It added that prison staff present on duty intervened immediately. However, a QRT team was called when the situation “got out of control”, and minimum required force was used.
The affidavit also had a summary of the inmates’ medical conditions. Four inmates, including Jamal, were referred to the orthopaedic unit. The nature of injuries, as per the affidavit are: lacerations, bruises, contusions, stapled wounds and abrasions.