The Calcutta High Court on Thursday was told that women prisoners in West Bengal were getting pregnant while under custody. In 2018, the high court appointed Advocate Tapas Kumar Bhanja as amicus curiae in a suo motu motion on overcrowding in prisons.
Bhanja on Thursday told the division bench comprising Chief Justice TS Sivagnanam and Justice Supratim Bhattacharya that 196 babies were said to have been living in different jails across West Bengal, the Bar and Bench reported.
The case pertains to prison reforms and correctional homes in the State of West Bengal. . The amicus curiae also told the court that on his visit to a correctional home he found one pregnant woman and 15 children born in the prison.
Taking a serious view on the submissions, the bench said that the matter would be placed before a two-judge bench hearing criminal cases on Monday.
According to the report, the high court bench recoded Bhanja’s submission that woman prisoners are getting pregnant while in custody and at present there are as many as 196 babies staying in. different prisons of West Bengal. Bhanja has further suggested to the court that the male employees of correctional homes should be barred from entering enclosures holding women prisoners.
According to prison rules, a child of less than six years of age can stay with mother if she is arrested.
The National Crime Records Bureau released its Prison Statistics India (2022) Report in 2023. The data shows that there were 5412 (convicts), 18146 (under trials) and 120 (detenues) ) women in prisons across the country. Out of them there were 1,537 women prisoners with 1,764 children as on December 31, 2022. Among these women prisoners, 1,312 women were undertrial prisoners who were accompanied by 1,479 children and 198 convicted prisoners who were accompanied by 230 children.