Punjab & Haryana High Court Raises Concerns Over Inadequate Calling Facilities in Prisons

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Published on: 27 January, 2024 at 12:40 IST

In a suo moto case addressing prison security in Punjab, Haryana, and Chandigarh, the Punjab and Haryana High Court expressed concerns regarding the insufficient calling facilities for prisoners.

The division bench, comprising Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal and Justice Kirti Singh, noted that the lack of proper calling systems may lead to desperation among prisoners, potentially driving them to smuggle phones into jails.

While examining the affidavit submitted by the ADGP, Punjab, which outlined an eight-month timeline for the installation of an adequate calling system, Justice Grewal emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue. He stated, “The desperation for calling the family members makes prisoners smuggle phones.”

Questioning the extended timeline given by the Punjab Prison authority, Justice Grewal asserted that a shorter timeframe is necessary to prevent the bribery of officials for obtaining phones.

The Court emphasized that an adequate number of calling systems would discourage ordinary prisoners from engaging in illegal activities like smuggling phones.

Previously, the court had directed the Punjab Prison authority to provide the shortest possible timeline for installing security equipment to curb the unauthorized use of mobile phones by inmates.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the proposed timeline, the division bench highlighted the daily occurrence of inmates using phones and creating videos, labeling it an embarrassment for the ADGP and a negative impact on the state’s law and order situation.

The Court listed the matter for further consideration on February 7, noting that representatives from the UT Administration, Chandigarh, and the states of Punjab and Haryana sought additional time to file affidavits detailing the steps taken to prevent mobile phone use in jails, including patrolling frequency and recovery of phones, along with actions against erring officials.

Case Title: Court on its own motion v. State of Punjab

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