Bitter PIL thrust down Chief Minister's throat

Former IPS officer also makes B S Yeddyurappa, Jayadeva Hospital and Central Jail authorities respondents in case for violating Jail Manual

Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda is likely to pay the price for going out of the way to meet his 'ailing' predecessor B S Yeddyurappa in judicial custody at Jayadeva Hospital in violation of the Jail Manual.

A retired police officer, KNA Reddy, filed a PIL in the High Court yesterday, making the chief minister a party in the case for violation of the jail manual as he went to meet Yeddyurappa with all his cabinet colleagues in tow last month.

Former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and his successor
D V Sadananda Gowda have been made respondents in
a PIL for violation of Jail Manual norms.

Though the court is yet to decide whether to admit the petition, the bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice A S Bopanna asked the petitioner to come up with substantial evidence within ten days, while ordering the additional advocate general, K M Nataraj, to furnish the required documents to the petitioner.

In his PIL, Reddy has made the home secretary, the superintendent of the central jail, and Yeddyurappa respondents along with the chief minister for discriminating the jail inmates and violating the Jail Manual by allowing politicians to meet the scam-tainted leader in the hospital.

While hearing the petition, the bench observed that the politicians evading jail term on health grounds had become a common phenomenon across the country and it was necessary to control the malpractice at the earliest.

"Yeddyurappa was shifted to the hospital within minutes after he complained of chest pain, but other inmates are not so privileged. It is a violation of Article 14 and Article 21 that protect a citizen against discrimination. And the court has taken note of it," said K Ragavendra, counsel for the petitioner.

Moreover, the petition questions the authorities on what grounds did they allow politicians to meet Yeddyurappa in hospital on October 16, which was a Sunday. According to the rulebook, no visit is allowed on Sundays and on any general holidays.

Following the chief minister's visit to the hospital in a show of solidarity with his embattled predecessor, Gowda's cabinet colleagues and party MLAs kept thronging the facility in batches through out the day and late in the evening, caring little for the rule of the land.

As per the Jail Manual, an undertrail prisoner or an accused in judicial custody is permitted to meet his family members for filing application, or executing power of attorney and defense of the case, once a week.
A prisoner must be kept in a jail ward in case of hospitalisation, and the visitor must meet the accused in the presence a jail officer.

At most six visitors can meet the prisoner in a day. Let alone politics, they are not allowed to talk anything except private and domestic matters. The tenure of the visit should not be more than 40 minutes.

Other side
When contacted for his take on the PIL, the chief minister declined to comment saying he didn't know the details of the petition.

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