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'Ghar ka khana' for Chidambaram in Tihar Jail


New Delhi, Oct 3: Former Union finance minister P Chidambaram will now be able to relish home-cooked food in Tihar Jail once daily as a Delhi court allowed his plea in this regard on Thursday after noting his medical condition.

Ghar ka khana for Chidambaram in Tihar Jail

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Chidambaram, told the court that the 74-year-old Congress leader was suffering from multiple ailments, including dyslipidemia and irritable bowel disease. Sibal told the court that there was a noticeable loss in Chidambaram's weight and his health was deteriorating in jail.

There was an inflammation in his digestive tract and therefore, it was imperative for him to eat home-cooked food.

Responding to his plea, the superintendent of Tihar Jail submitted that the Delhi Prison Rules prohibited outside food for inmates and if Chidambaram was allowed to have home-cooked food, it would be discriminatory to other prisoners.

The jail official also told the court that an inmate was allowed to meet visitors only twice a week and if Chidambaram was allowed to have home food, it would require daily contact with visitors, which would not be conducive to his safety and security. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), however, said he had no objection to Chidambaram being provided with home-cooked food.

The court said in these circumstances, it might be conducive to Chidambaram's health condition that he was provided home-cooked food once a day to avoid any further deterioration in his health condition. However, it noted that the order should not be taken as a precedent as the concession for home food was being given considering the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and keeping Chidambaram's medical condition in mind.

Allowing the plea, Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar said, "From the medical record shown by the applicant (Chidambaram), it is apparent that the applicant is suffering from multiple ailments. He is 74 years of age. He is suffering from inflammation of his digestive tract.... "In these circumstances, it may be conducive to his health condition that he is provided home cooked food once a day to avoid any further deterioration in his health condition."

Earlier in the day, Chidambaram moved a bail plea in the Supreme Court, where he said "bail is the rule, jail is the exception" and that courts should frown upon the attempt of the prosecution to use judicial custody as "a kind of pre-trial punishment". Citing his "frail" health, the senior Congress leader also said he was not "accustomed" to the food given to him in jail and had lost four kg during his judicial custody.

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