The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked Tihar Jail authorities why they deducted 25% of prisoners’ salary for a victim compensation fund, reported PTI. The director general of prisons of the Delhi government “cannot do something which was not permissible under the law”, said a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice VK Rao.

The court’s observation came on a petition challenging a 2006 notification of the Delhi Prison Rules of 1988, which mandate the deduction. The bench directed the Delhi government to file an affidavit about what powers enabled it to take such a decision. The matter will next be heard on December 3.

The bench said Tihar authorities had assumed the power of a convicting court, which imposes fines on a convict, and gone against the Criminal Procedure Code. “You [prison authority] are also imposing a fine by deducting 25% of their salary,” it said. “You are assuming the powers of convicting court. How can you do that?”

More than Rs 15 crore collected from prisoners’ salaries since 2006 has not been used, the court was told. However, prison authorities said around Rs 80.73 lakh has been disbursed to 194 eligible victims so far.