Conjugal visits for jail inmates not practical, say authorities

A representational picture, outside Tihar jail. File  

The Delhi High Court was informed by the prison authorities that it is not practical to permit conjugal visits for prisoners as rules do not provide for such facility and there is limited infrastructure available.

The Director General (Prison) said it grants temporary leave to prisoners in the form of parole and furlough for maintaining family and social ties, and the purpose of conjugal relation can be served during such period.

A Bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar has posted the case for further hearing on February 26.

The High Court was hearing a petition seeking conjugal visitation rights for prisoners. Petitioner Amit Sahni, a lawyer and social activist, has claimed in his plea that conjugal visits in jail should be treated as a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.

Nature of confinement

The prison authorities, in an affidavit filed through Delhi government Additional Standing Counsel Sanjoy Ghose, said conjugal visits inside prison cannot be allowed due to the nature of confinement. “A prisoner can avail parole’ furlough or interim bail for maintaining family and conjugal rights. In addition to this, prisoners are allowed interviews with spouses, other family members, friends and counsel, hence social contacts are maintained,” it said.

The authorities denied the claim made in the plea that allowing conjugal visits can help curb the menace of sexual crimes in Delhi, since the petitioner has failed to explain how a sexual crime committed outside the prison has any relation with conjugal visits in prison as a solution to the menace.

Monitored visits

It said that in Delhi, spousal meetings within the prison premises are allowed in terms of provisions of the Delhi Prison Rules 2018, but are monitored for safety and security of the prisoners, visitors and prisons. It said there are 1,200 visitations on a daily basis in Tihar Jail alone and allowing conjugal visits in prisons at this time may not be feasible due to limited infrastructure.

Mr. Sahni, in his petition, said 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 and sought setting aside of the rule.

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Printable version | May 13, 2021 3:16:31 AM |

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