Maharashtra: No non-veg and sweets in prisons without pre-order

The Bombay High Court was recently informed that the prison authorities now serve non-vegetarian food and sweet dishes to the prisoners only after they place an order in advance.

The HC was further told that the Maharashtra government is implementing the state prison (diet for prisoners) rules, 1970.

A bench of Justices Ravindra Ghuge and Shrikant Kulkarni was dealing with a petition filed by an inmate - Balaji Shendge seeking directives to the prison authorities to serve a good-quality diet to jail inmates as per the Maharashtra Prison (Diet for Prisoners) Rules 1970.

The plea also sought permission to allow the sale of cooked items such as mutton, chicken, egg, bhajiya, bundi laddoo, etc.

Such food was allowed by the prison authorities as per the circular issued in November 2019.

While responding to the petition, the state through additional public prosecutor SB Narwade told the judges that the prison authorities are now making the food items like mutton, chicken, eggs, veg­pulav, bundi laddoos on demand.

"These food items can be purchased by the prisoner from his earnings to a maximum limit of Rs 4500 per month. These food items are available and can be purchased only on advance demand since these non-vegetarian dishes have to be purchased and then cooked," Narwade submitted.

At this, the counsel appearing for Shendge informed the bench that he petitioned that HC only after finding that these food items were unavailable for the inmates.

Having heard the contentions, the judges said, "Such non-vegetarian food items, as well as the sweets, are prepared only on advance orders and demands by the prisoners. We find that the rules pertaining to the diet for prisoners are being implemented by the authorities properly."

"However, if any inmate has any grievance regarding the availability of food items, they are at liberty to raise the issue before the committee comprising of the respective district judges and collectors. We are sure that the committee would deal with the grievances as per law," Justice Ghuge said in his orders.

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