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Women getting pregnant in jails, bar entry of male employees : Amicus tells Calcutta HC

Kolkata: In the prisons of West Bengal, it has been disclosed to the Calcutta High Court that approximately 196 babies have been born to women prisoners while in custody. The revelation was made today by an amicus curiae during the discussion of a case related to prison reforms and correctional homes in the state. Justices TS Sivagnanam and Supratim Bhattacharya were apprised of this information, and the bench stated that the issue would be presented before a division bench specializing in criminal cases next week.

The amicus curiae highlighted concerns about women prisoners becoming pregnant while in custody, resulting in 196 infants currently residing in various prisons across West Bengal. Advocating for immediate action, the amicus curiae proposed a ban on the entry of male correctional home employees into the areas where women prisoners are held.

The amicus curiae shared firsthand observations from a recent visit to a women’s correctional home, accompanied by the inspector general (special) of correctional homes and the secretary of the district legal services authority. During the visit, it was noted that a pregnant woman and at least 15 other female prisoners were residing with their children, all born within the prison.

Additionally, the court acknowledged several other recommendations provided by the amicus curiae in a detailed note dated January 25. These suggestions aimed to enhance conditions and ensure the welfare of inmates in correctional facilities. A notable proposal was to authorize all District Judges, who preside over the Board of Visitors, to inspect correctional centers within their respective jurisdictions to determine the number of women convicts who had experienced pregnancies while incarcerated.

To facilitate comprehensive adjudication of these matters, the bench deemed it appropriate to refer the case to the Hon’ble Division Bench specializing in criminal roster determination, removing it from its current docket today.