“Humanity important, everything else is subsequent”, Bombay HC to jail officials on Bhima Koregaon accused

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said workshops need to be organised for jailers and prison authorities to understand the needs of prisoners.

The fresh observation came in response to a claim by the partner of activist and Elgaar Parishad case accused Gautam Navlakha that his spectacles were stolen from Taloja jail on November 27 and he was denied a new pair that arrived by speed post.

Sahba Husain, the partner of Gautam Navlakha, has issued a statement claiming that the Taloja jail authorities have refused to accept a parcel containing a new pair of spectacles for Navlakha.

Saba Hussain’s statement mentions that 70-year-old Navlakha, who suffers from several ailments, had his pair of glasses stolen on November 27. She called it a ‘situation of emergency’ because her partner is “close to blind without his glasses”.

“We read about an accused’s case where he has no spectacles and his family wants to provide him with one and the jail authorities have rejected it,” referring to news reports on Saba Hussain’s statement, the court remarked,

“We need to conduct workshops for jailers. How are such small items denied? These are all human considerations,” observed the division of justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik.

The Bench of Justices SS Shinde and MS Karnik was hearing a plea moved by Ramesh Gaichor and Sagar Gorkhe.

The court also referred to its earlier order allowing 81-year-old arrested poet Varavara Rao, who is also lodged at Taloja jail, to be shifted to Nanavati Hospital for his treatment till further orders.

The bench said: “Our consideration was restricted to allowing him to be shifted to Nanavati Hospital. Humanity is important, everything else will follow subsequently.”