New Delhi: A Special Court on Thursday decided to reserve its order on a petition moved by jailed Delhi Minister Satyender Jain seeking direction to provide food as per his religious beliefs during his judicial custody, news agency ANI reported.
The Special Judge Vikas Dhull decided to keep the order reserved and fixed it for pronouncement on Friday after hearing the arguments.
In its reply, Tihar Jail Authority stated that the administration supplies a balanced diet to all the prisoners in Delhi Prisons, irrespective of any discrimination on the basis of caste, creed or gender.
“That the conjoint reading of the rule of the position of Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 nowhere determines that the fast keeping/observing by a prisoner may go for an indefinite period. As per general beliefs, there is a particular span of time/days for which a person usually keeps fast like in Navratras and or during Ramzan. Further, the rules provide religious fast and not a fast undertaken by an individual as per his own choice/liking,” the jail authority said in a statement.
Earlier on Wednesday, the court directed Tihar Jail to provide the food to Jain, which is available under trial, if he is on a fast, keeping in mind Rules 339 and 341 read with 1124 of Delhi Prison Rules, 2018.
The court had also sought a report from Tihar as to what food was being given to Kumar Jain over the last six months, whether he was on a religious fast, and whether the diet, which was given to him has been stopped during the past 10-12 days?
Tihar’s reply said that as per the jail record, the minister has not been taking any cooked food or cereal foods in the jail since his admission. He has only been taking salad (cucumber, tomato etc.) and fruits such as apples and oranges on a payment basis from the jail canteen.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, appeared for Jain after reading Tihar’s reply, and submitted that under what provision they say “I can’t go for indefinite fasting.”
“We’re in a country where everyone is free to profess their own religion. No one can actually stop me from professing my religion. I am not even getting basic food in jail, Do my human rights also take away?” he said.
Meanwhile, Jain’s lawyer also prayed to withdraw the petition and sought direction to restrain the media to air any CCTV clip related to the minister.