Jails have upload 18,000-page chargesheet on their computers but they have either not informed the inmates or denying them enough time to read
NEW DELHI – Activists Khalid Saifi, Shifa Ur-Rehman, Shadab Ahmed and others told a court on Tuesday that they had not been given access to the 18,000-page chargesheet despite its orders.
“Police officials have uploaded the chargesheet in the computer but the jail authorities have not given me access to it,” Saifi, who is lodged in Mandoli prison, was quoted by PTI as saying.
Saifi and other accused have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in a case related to North-East Delhi riots of last year.
Some of the other accused, who have got access to it, sought the court’s directions to the jail authorities for a uniform time slot, preferably more than an hour a day, for reading the bulky 18,000 pages on the computer system in prison.
Additional Sessions Judge Amitabh Rawat put up the matter for further hearing on February 2.
During the hearing, held through video conferencing, they said that the chargesheet has been uploaded in the jail computer as per the court’s orders but they have not been given access to it.
Rehman, lodged in Tihar jail, said the prison authorities did not inform him till date that the chargesheet has been uploaded and he can read it.
Suspended AAP Councillor and co-accused Tahir Hussain said he has not been able to read the chargesheet as the computer system was always occupied.
Hussain also sought to be given access to a pen drive containing the chargesheet so that he can go to the library and read it.
Former JNU student leader Umar Khalid submitted he had been given three hours some day while one hour the other day for reading the chargesheet.
“Besides the availability of computer system and the fact that it varies from jail to jail, it also depends on the official on duty as for how much time we will be given access to the computer. It is my request that some standard time be provided, which is more than an hour a day as the charge sheet is about 18,000 pages,” Khalid said.
While JNU student Sharjeel Imam said he has been given two hours to read the charge sheet, former Congress Councillor Ishrat Jahan said she was given one hour and Jamia Millia Islamia student Asif Iqbal Tanha said he has been given access to the computer for half an hour only.
The court expressed displeasure when it came to know that the accused were not being given a uniform time slot for reading the charge sheet.
When the judge asked the Tihar jail authorities, who was present during the video conferencing, about the concerns raised by the accused, he failed to give any answer.
“What’s the point of uploading it on the computer if the accused cannot access it? …Why are they given different time slots?” the judge remarked.
The court had earlier directed the police to upload the soft copy of the charge sheet to the computer in jail after the accused contended that it was difficult to discuss the bulky document during the half-hour legal interview with their lawyers.