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Delhi High Court grants time to Delhi Govt to file response on pending vacancies in jails.

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The Delhi Government on Monday sought time from the Delhi High Court to file its Status Report pointing out the sanctioned strength and pending vacancies to various posts in jails in the national capital including the post of Medical Officers, Welfare Officers, Counsellors and Teachers.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was dealing with a plea filed by a practising Advocate highlighting that there are a large number of vacancies for several posts in the Delhi jails.

The matter is slated for next hearing on 23 September, 2022.

Filed by Advocate Amit Sahni, the plea raises concern regarding the ‘acute’ shortage of prison staff, particularly the educational and correctional staff, psychiatric social workers and psychologists, which the plea contends are lying vacant since long.

The plea also pointed out that the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018, provides for constitution of Board of Visitors, Service Board, State Advisory Board and Prison Development Board, but the same have not been notified since long.

Stating that the Delhi prisons are facing 20.25% staff shortage and that the Apex Court and the Delhi High Court has taken serious view of the pending vacancies in jails, the plea seeks directions for filling up vacancies of medical officers, paramedical staff, welfare officers, counsellors, teachers for education, yoga teachers, education vocational counsellors and other pending vacancies.

Further, the plea seeks constitution and notification of Board of Visitors, Service Board, State Advisory Board, Prison Development Board and Forum for Prison Staff in line with the Delhi Prison Act, 2000 and Delhi Prison Rules 2018, in in the larger interest of prisoners lodged in Delhi Jails as well as in the interest of Delhi prison administration.

“The shortage of prison staff is a reason for inadequate management of Delhi Jails and many a times the same leads to violence upon the errant inmates by the Jail Staff,” read the plea.

On the last date of hearing, the Bench had asked the Delhi Government and Director General of Prisons to disclose the reasons for vacancies not being filled and what steps have been initiated for filing up of the vacant posts. The Delhi Government and the DG Prisons were directed to immediately initiate the process of filling up vacancies and to expedite filling up of vacancies wherever the process is underway and pending.

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