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PIL in HC seeking conjugal visitation rights of prisoners

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi High Court Thursday agreed to hear on Friday a PIL seeking to hold conjugal visits in jail as a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.
The plea sought a direction to set aside state's prison rule that mandates the presence of a prison officer when a prisoner is meeting his or her spouse.
The plea was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Rajender Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi in which it has sought directions to the Delhi government and Director General (DG) of Tihar Prisons to make necessary arrangements in jails for conjugal visits of prisoners.
The plea, filed by lawyer and social activist Amit Sahni, said conjugal visitation rights were not provided in prisons in the state though most of the prisoners fall under sexually active age group.
"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," it said.
The plea further said the private meetings with spouse cannot be denied to prisoners on the ground of existing provisions of parole and furlough and added that these provisions were anyway not available to undertrial prisoners.
It said conjugal visits not only ensure the fundamental and the 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 said.
It said 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 30 2019 | 7:05 PM IST

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