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PIL for conjugal visitation rights of prisoners: HC seeks AAP govt's reply

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi High Court on Friday sought response of the AAP government and prison authorities here on a PIL seeking conjugal visitation rights for prisoners.
Terming the issue raised in the plea as "very interesting", a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi issued notice to the Delhi government and the Director General of Prisons seeking their stand on the petition by a lawyer.
Amit Sahni, a lawyer and a social activist, has claimed in his plea that conjugal visits in jail should be treated as a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.
Sahni, represented by senior advocate N Hariharan, has said in his petition that presently under the state's prison rule, meeting between an inmate and his or her spouse takes place in the presence of a prison officer.
He has sought setting aside of the rule.
He has further said that "despite courts taking a progressive approach and various countries allowing conjugal visits considering it an important human right and also in the light of studies backing conjugal visits as a factor to cut down crimes in jail and reform inmates, the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 are totally silent on the issue."

The petition contends that conjugal visitation rights ought to be provided in prisons in the state as most of the prisoners fall in the sexually active age group.
It has said private meetings with spouse cannot be denied to prisoners on grounds of existing provisions of parole and furlough and added these provisions were anyway not available to undertrial prisoners.
It has further said that conjugal visits not only ensures fundamental and human rights of those incarcerated, but also their spouses who suffer without any wrong.
"One should not overlook the plight of the spouse of those incarcerated who suffer the punishment of denial of conjugal relationship without having done any wrong," the plea has said.
It has also contended that various researches have shown that conjugal visits reduce frequency of prison riots, sexual crimes, homosexual behaviour while moving prisoners towards reformation and good behaviour.

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First Published: May 31 2019 | 1:30 PM IST

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