The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre and the Delhi government to jointly hold a secretary-level officials’ meeting with Prisons DG at Tihar Jail to discuss the recommendations submitted by Delhi Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana in a report on prison reforms.

The report came after it was found some Tihar jail officials were extending undue assistance to jailed ex-Unitech promoters Sanjay Chandra and Ajay Chandra.

Stressing the need to avoid the “passing the buck” between the Centre and the city government, the bench of Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and M.R. Shah was also directed to submit a joint affidavit including their decisions and implementations and steps taken in view of the jail security.

Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, submitted before the top court that the Ministry of Home Affairs, has considered the Commissioner’s report and taken decisions accordingly.

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However, it was noted that the recommendations were actually reiterations of various guidelines contained in the Model Prisons Manual 2016 and other advisories issued by the MHA to the state governments from time to time, the ASG submitted.

Divan said prisons is a state subject and the state government alone can make laws and take decisions in matters of prisons in their jurisdiction.

On November 10, last year, the Supreme Court expressed its dissatisfaction over the delay by the MHA in taking action on recommendations submitted by Asthana in his report.

On October 6, 2021 after a stormy hearing, the Supreme Court had ordered immediate suspension and a full-fledged probe against the Tihar Jail officials, who were identified by the Delhi Police Commissioner in a report for extending undue assistance to the Chandras.

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