The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and Delhi government to explore appropriate programmes for mainstreaming and rehabilitating women prisoners.
A bench of Justices Gita Mittal and Anu Malhotra observed that the status of women prisoners was extremely “sad and unfortunate”.
“In several cases involving women prisoners, we are coming across the fact that, apart from the punishment awarded by law, they are suffering a fate worse than just their incarceration.
“One in which their pain would be endless and knows no reprieve, one for which there can be no legal intervention or legal remedy. This is the punishment inflicted not only on the woman prisoner but may even extend to her spouse and children by their relatives, friends and society,” the bench noted.
It made the observations while allowing an appeal filed by Poonam Rani against the conviction and sentence of life term handed to down to her for killing her mother-in-law.
The high court, however, acquitted her due to lack of evidence in the case.
While ordering her release of the convict, the bench noted that as a result of the imprisonment of appellant, the first thing that resulted was her complete abandonment by in- laws and husband.
“We, however, find that in cases where the man of the family has been accused, or even stands convicted, of extremely gruesome and heinous offences, the entire family rallies around him.
“Be it the wife and children or parents and siblings, they all not only defend the case vigorously but also do their utmost to secure bail for the alleged offender or suspension of sentence for the male convict. There is no dearth of persons visiting such male prisoners in jail for mulaqat as well. This is an unfortunate but hard reality faced by women prisoner,” it said.
It observed that since society hardly gave a second chance to women prisoners, the responsibility of the authorities “enhances manifold” to ensure that these women are adequately equipped with the strength to face their emotional and physical isolation with fortitude, their self-confidence and self-esteem built up, coupled with impartation of livelihood skills to enable them create financially independent lives for themselves.
( Source – PTI )