A special court on Saturday rejected a plea by jailed Aam Aadmi Party leader and Delhi Minister Satyendar Jain, seeking a direction to prison authorities to serve him food as per his religious beliefs.
Mr. Jain was arrested in May by the Enforcement Directorate over money laundering charges.
On November 21, Mr. Jain’s lawyers had moved a petition alleging that Tihar jail authorities were not providing him food as per his religious beliefs.
“For almost six months Mr. Jain was surviving only on fruits, vegetables, seeds and dry fruits/dates. He was purchasing this from his own quota of ration available to all inmates,” the plea stated.
‘Violation of Article 14’
In his order, Special Judge Vikas Dhull said the court “prima facie believes that the fruits/vegetables were being provided to the applicant without there being any order of Director General (Prisons) or any authority” and “in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution of India, 1950 as [the] State is bound to treat all prisoners equally”.
The judge also said it is prima facie established that Tihar jail officials were providing “preferential treatment” to Mr. Jain by providing him fruits and vegetables, in violation of Delhi Prison Rules (DPR) 2018, and the same has now been stopped.
The court noted that as per Rule 341 of DPR 2018, “a prisoner who observes religious fasts may receive extra articles of food suitable for such fasts... as may be allowed by orders of the government”.
‘No request on record’
However, it said that in Mr. Jain’s case, there is neither any request placed on record showing his desire to keep a fast nor any order of the Director General (Prisons) or any authority permitting him to do so.
“In the light of the aforementioned discussion, no ground is made out to direct Director General (Prisons) and Superintendent, Tihar Jail to provide fruits, vegetables and dry fruits to the applicant Satyendar Kumar Jain,” the order further said.