News Brief

West Bengal: Calcutta HC Raises Serious Concerns Over Pregnancies Among Women Prisoners In Jails, 196 Babies Born

Nayan Dwivedi

Feb 09, 2024, 12:27 PM | Updated 12:27 PM IST

Calcutta High Court
Calcutta High Court

In a startling revelation, the Calcutta High Court has expressed grave concerns regarding the situation of women prisoners within West Bengal's jail.

The court was apprised by the amicus curiae of a trend wherein female inmates are becoming pregnant while in custody, resulting in an estimated 196 births across various correctional facilities in the state.

Amicus curiae, Latin for "friend of the court," refers to a legal advisor appointed by a court to provide impartial assistance and expertise on specific legal issues.

While not a party to the case, the amicus curiae offers insights and recommendations to aid the court's decision-making process.

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During the mentioning of a case related to prison reforms, Chief Justice T S Sivagnanam and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya, presiding over the division bench, decided to escalate the matter for hearing before a specialized division bench focusing on criminal cases.

The amicus curiae proposed a series of preventive measure to address the issue, including suggesting a ban on male staff entering areas housing women prisoners.

Additionally, the amicus curiae presented further suggestions aimed at enhancing the conditions and ensuring the welfare of inmates.

Among these proposals was a call for all District Judges, who serve as Chairmen of the Board of Visitors, to inspect correctional facilities within their jurisdiction to ascertain the extent of pregnancies among women prisoners.

Furthermore, the amicus recommended mandatory pregnancy tests for all female detainees before their admission to correctional homes, with instructions for such tests to be conducted by police stations statewide.

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Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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