No physiotherapist in Delhi prisons, HC raps AAP government

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New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court today directed the AAP government to work out how many trained physiotherapists are required in three prisons here, after it was informed that there was not even a single physiotherapist in the jails.

Justice Mukta Gupta directed the Secretary of Health Department of the Delhi government to find out the number of physiotherapists required in Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails while keeping in mind number of inmates requiring the treatment. The official will also inform the court the number of physiotherapists required in the prisons and submit the report.

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"The secretary of the Health Department will inform within four weeks further action which he proposes to take," the court said and listed the matter for October 23.

The court passed the directions while hearing a plea of Jagtar Singh Hawara, undergoing life sentence for conspiring to assassinate former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

Singh, who is lodged in the Tihar Jail, has sought special facilities for treatment of his back pain and other spinal problems. Delhi government standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra submitted an additional affidavit on behalf of director general (prisons), stating that there was no physiotherapist in the three jails and 2-3 trained persons will be soon made available by an NGO.

Advocate Maninder Singh, appearing for Hawara, contended it was a serious issue that in the three prisons, where thousands of inmates are lodged, there was not even a single physiotherapist and the prisoners have to be taken out to other hospitals in case of any such medical issue despite various orders of the high court.

This is an applauding state of affairs that there are no trained physiotherapists in the jails here and the attendants who are not qualified or trained are asked to give the treatment through machines and give massages to the affected inmates, he said.

The jail authorities stated in the affidavit that the process of recruiting physiotherapists on contract basis has been completed and the file has been sent to the Health Department for necessary approval of the competent authority.

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It said the government had invited online applications for 17 vacancies of physiotherapists and the last date was August 13.

It said a letter was recently written to the chief secretary apprising requirement of physiotherapists facilities in Delhi prisons and it was requested that the post of four physiotherapists should be continued and sanctioned. Regarding the number of machines available for physiotherapy in the prisons and how many of them were functional, the authorities said there were 15, 12 and 11 machines in Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails respectively and all were in working condition.

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