An order restricting lawyers from meeting their undertrial clients in the Tihar Jail here to once a week has been challenged in the Delhi High Court, which has sought the response of the Director General (Prison) on the issue. A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gitta Mittal and Justice Navin Chawla directed Tihar DG Sudhir Yadav to file a status report also indicating the facilities for lawyers who visit the jail. Claiming that legal access had been “unlawfully restricted to one legal interview per week”, Advocate Amit Sahni has sought quashing of a February 2013 order under which lawyers are not allowed to meet their clients more than once a week.
He said the order is against the right of a prisoner to seek legal advice and “curtailing the right of any prisoner under the garb of impugned standing order to have legal interview once a week is bad in law and against constitutional provisions”. The advocate moved the court alleging that the change in the rules by the authorities for visitors to Tihar Jail had restricted lawyers’ access to their incarcerated clients.
The plea claimed that lawyers were forced to wait for long outside the jail as the paperwork for their visit is processed and sought modernisation of facilities through online applications for them to visit their jailed clients. He has also sought directions to the jail authorities to provide better facilities to advocates visiting the jail for legal interviews. The petitioner has sought a proper place for them to sit, besides facilities like drinking water, parking and entry sticker for vehicles.