Strip-Searching Amounts to Violation of Fundamental Right to the Prisoner.

The Mumbai special court recently held that strip searching an undertrial prisoner violates their fundamental right to privacy and is humiliating. The ruling was made by special judge BD Shelke under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA). The judge was approached with an application by Ahmed Kamal Shaikh, an accused in the 1993 Bombay blast case. Shaikh had raised the grievance that whenever he is taken back to jail after being produced in court, he is strip-searched at the entrance gate of the prison, which is a violation of his rights. He also claimed that prison officials misbehaved with him, humiliated, and threatened him.

The superintendent of Mumbai Central Prison contended that the application was made only to pressurize the jail authorities. However, the judge found substance in the allegations raised by the accused and directed the superintendent and searching guards of prisons to ensure that whenever personal searches are conducted, scanners and electronic gadgets are used. The judge also clarified that officials need not misbehave, humiliate, use unparliamentary language or strip the accused nude.

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