Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Principal District Judge, Vellore, to visit a convict at the Central Prison, Vellore, and inquire whether he was willing to meet an advocate.

A Division Bench of Justices D. Murugesan and V. Periya Karuppiah also asked the District Judge to inquire whether the convict, Ganesan, was in solitary confinement and being ill treated by prison officials. He should send his report to the court by March 28.

The court was passing interim orders on two petitions filed by R.K. Ayyappan and G. Haribabu, who said the prison authorities had turned down their applications to meet the prisoner.

Mr. Ayyappan of Aminjikarai submitted that his client, Mr. Ganesan, had filed a habeas corpus petition for producing his wife Nadhiya, 25. (Mr. Ganesan had alleged that she was raped by prison officials. Following a High Court order, the authorities submitted a report. Nadhiya rejected the averments in the petition and declared she was a virgin. A team of doctors corroborated her assertion, saying there was no evidence of forceful sexual intercourse or external injuries as per the clinical findings.)

The petitioner submitted that Ms. Nadhiya was the wife of Mr. Ganesan, having lived with him for several months, and the virginity report was false. Since February 25, the prisoner was being kept in solitary confinement and was not allowed to meet the petitioner when he went to the prison.

The petitioner prayed for an interim direction to inquire whether the virginity report was true or false. He prayed that the court order the production of the convict and free him from solitary confinement, besides asking the Home Secretary to transfer the investigation to the CBI.