Why can't 2006 Mumbai train blast accused get homoeopathy books, asks HC

Feb 09, 2015, 21:35 IST | IANS

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought to know from the central and city government why it cannot provide publications on homoeopathy free of cost in jail to a prime accused in 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts.

Justice Rajeev Shakdher asked both governments to inform about the problem in providing the free publications to the accused for study.

The court also asked the government to inform it about the status of case of Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui, lodged in a Mumbai jail.

Siddiqui had written a letter to Delhi High Court, which was converted into a PIL, seeking a direction that he be provided 45 publications on homoeopathy free of cost in jail for studying as he was too poor to afford them.

Hearing the plea, the court suggested advocate Rajdeepa Behura, who appeared for the Delhi government, that jail authorities can purchase the publications and put them in jail liberary from where the accused can study.

"What's the problem in providing the books to accused? Jail must be having a library.. it can purchase the books and put there in library. Take instruction on the issue and also on the status of case in which accused is lodged in the jail," asked Justice Shakdher.

One of the prime accused in the Mumbai train blasts attacks of 2006, in which seven bombs kept in first-class coaches of Mumbai's suburban trains and at railway stations had killed 187, Siddiqui has been lodged in jail since 2006.

Siddiqui had sought copies of books published by the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH), Delhi under the RTI act to study but the council refused on the ground that these were "priced publications" and hence could not be given free. His request for soft copies was also turned down, citing copyright laws.

After his pleas to the CCRH and the Central Information Commission were turned down, Siddiqui drafted a letter and mailed it to the Delhi High Court in April 2012.

Siddiqui argued that since he fell in the below poverty line category, a fact verified by the Bombay High Court registrar, he should be given this "information" free of cost.

He cited Section 7(5) of the RTI Act that said that even for supplying a priced publication, no fee shall be charged from people in the poor category.

Siddiqui also raised questions over invoking of copyright laws, pointing out that providing soft copies does not violate the same unless the copies are published by anyone for financial gains without their permission.

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