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Pinjra Tod Member Will be Provided Video Conference Facility to Consult Lawyers: Tihar Jail Tells HC

File photo of Tihar Jail.

File photo of Tihar Jail.

The submission by Tihar Jail officials was made before Justice Vibhu Bakhru in response to a plea by Kalita seeking daily access to her lawyer through video conferencing and to carry books and reading material in prison.

  • PTI New Delhi
  • Last Updated: July 3, 2020, 7:39 PM IST
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The Tihar Jail officials on Friday told the Delhi High Court that Pinjra Tod member Devangana Kalita, arrested in a case related to the communal violence in North East Delhi, can have access to her lawyer via video conference as this facility was being provided in the jail no.6 of Tihar Jail where women are lodged.

The submission by Tihar Jail officials was made before Justice Vibhu Bakhru in response to a plea by Kalita seeking daily access to her lawyer through video conferencing and to carry books and reading material in prison.

With regard to her plea for getting books, from other outside sources, as well as her concern that jail officials would be able to over hear her video conferences with her lawyer as they are always standing close by, the high court said the same order as passed in the matter of co-accused and Pinjra Tod member Natasha Narwal, who had raised similar issues, can be made applicable to Kalita also.

In Narwal's matter, the high court, on June 30, had allowed her to have two video conferences per week for 30 minutes each, she was permitted to source books from outside the prison and headphones were to be provided to her to converse with her client without the officials over-hearing it.

On Friday, Justice Bakhru said the instant matter can be disposed of in view of the status report filed by the jail officials, represented by Delhi government standing counsel Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, and in terms of the June 30 order in Narwal''s case.

With the observation, the court disposed of the petition.

Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) was founded in 2015 with an aim to make hostels and paying guest accommodations less restrictive for women students.

In 2015, Jamia Millia Islamia University had issued a notice restricting female students from staying out after 8 pm. When the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) questioned the Jamia administration on it, a group of women students decided to protest against the restrictions not only in Jamia but other universities in Delhi.

Later named as Pinjra Tod, the group mobilised people around several issues faced by female residents of hostels and PGs.

Narwal and Kalitha, who are currently lodged in Tihar jail under judicial custody, were arrested by the Delhi Police on May 23 in connection with a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in North East Delhi's Jafrabad area in February.

On May 24, they were granted bail by the trial court in the case, but moments later the Delhi Police crime branch had moved an application seeking to interrogate them and formally arrest them in a separate case.

They were also arrested in a third case related to their alleged roles in the north-east Delhi violence matter.

The FIR under which Narwal and Kalitha were arrested on May 23 was registered for the alleged offences of rioting, obstructing public servant and disobedience of order, abetment of an offence, wrongful restraint and assaulting or using criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty under the Indian Penal Code and if convicted the punishment ranges from a few months to three years in jail or fine or both.

The FIR under which they were arrested on May 24 was registered for the alleged offences of rioting, unlawful assembly, assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, voluntarily causing hurt, murder, attempt to murder and criminal conspiracy under the IPC, relevant sections of the Arms Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

If convicted in the case lodged on May 24, the max punishment would be life imprisonment or death for the offence of murder.

Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control, leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured.

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