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Why books not given to Mumbai blasts accused: HC asks jail

Delhi high court

New Delhi: Delhi High Court today directed the Superintendent of Mumbai’s Arthur Road Jail to explain why books on homoeopathy, sought by the prime accused in 2006 Mumbai serial train blasts, could not be supplied to him.

Justice Rajiv Shakdher raised the query after the jail authorities informed the court that since the books sought by accused Ehtesham Qutubuddin Siddiqui were not supplied to it, they were unable to provide the publications to him.

“Why can’t they procure it (books)? Are there no funds with Arthur Road Jail,” the court asked and directed advocate Rajdipa Behura, appearing for the prison authorities, to file an affidavit indicating reasons for not providing the books.

The court also issued notice to Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy, Delhi, and sought its response by August 5 on why an inmate cannot be given access to the books. The court has sought the council’s response as it had refused to provide the books to the accused under the Right to Information Act after which Siddiqui had moved the high court.

Advocates Meenakshi Midha and Siddhartha Nagpal, who are representing the accused, informed the court that CCRH had refused to provide hard copies of the books under RTI as they were “priced publications” and hence could not be given free.

CCRH had also refused to provide soft copies under RTI as it could lead to copyright violations, the lawyers said.

Behura, meanwhile, told the court that Tihar had refused to provide the books as the accused was not an inmate there.

She also suggested that instead of proceeding under the RTI Act, the accused should directly write to the Arthur Road Jail authorities asking them to provide the books.

Siddiqui had written a letter to the Delhi High Court, which was converted into a writ petition, 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.

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