A prisoner was not provided books for last three years, required for a course on homeopathy in the Mumbai Central Jail – the Arthur Road Jail. The prisoner asked for some books published by CCRH, which are already low cost.
Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui, an accused in the 2006 Mumbai train blasts, had sent a letter in 2012 to Delhi High Court, after the Central Information Commission (CIC) had denied his request to be given 45 books published by the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) under the RTI Act.
The court had converted the letter to a PIL, and issued notice to the Delhi prison authorities and the Central government on the issue of whether rights under the RTI Act were available to the prisoner, and whether published books could be brought under the RTI Act.
The CCRH and the CIC however said that the books could not be provided under RTI as they were “priced publications” which could only be given at a cost, and not for free under the RTI Act.
Advocate Rajdeepa Behura, who was appearing on behalf of the Delhi government, told the court that the Tihar Jail had a “welfare programme” under which it could have paid the fee under the RTI Act or purchased the books.
However, the Delhi government said that Delhi authorities did not have any jurisdiction as the prisoner was lodged at in Mumbai.
I feel, CCRH should provide copies free under welfare program, and moreover, it’s a government publication. This is irony that we can provide biryani and other luxury to some influential or top rated inmates, but we can’t provide them homeopathic books to one who wants to upgrade his knowledge.