The Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to central and city government on a plea filed by a prime accused in the 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts, seeking a direction that he be provided books on homoeopathy free of cost in jail for studying as he was too poor to afford them.
Justice Manmohan, issuing notice to the governments, asked them to file response on plea of Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui who is lodged in Arthur Road jail in Mumbai.
Siddiqui had moved the court after attempts by him to get the books from Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), Delhi by filing a Right to Information (RTI) plea failed with Central Information Commission (CIC) rejecting the request.
He sought direction to supply copies of all 45 books published by CCRH, Delhi.
Siddiqui had earlier written a letter to the Delhi’s chief justice claiming his right to study the medical books after his request was rejected by CCRH and CIC.
Acting on the letter, the high court had converted the plea into a PIL and appointed advocate Sumeet Pushkarna as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.
In his plea, Siddiqui said the prisoners are not ordinary citizens and special consideration is required for his application under RTI for copies of all books.
In his letter, he said that he had filed an application under the RTI Act but the CCRH turned his request down on the ground that these were “priced publications” and hence could not be given out free of cost.
Siddiqui’s request for soft copies was also turned down, citing copyright laws.
As he fell in the below poverty line category, which was verified by the Bombay High Court registrar, Siddiqui said he should be given this information free of cost.
Since a prisoner is not allowed to do any business to earn money, the state must ensure that he is provided the publications, his plea added.