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HC seeks data of kids of women prisoners, PIL alleges neglect

bombay high court

 Mumbai : Acting on a public interest litigation, the Bombay High Court today directed Additional Director General of Prisons to file an affidavit by February 11, giving data about children of women prisoners.

The HC wanted to know how many such children are living without the support of parents and how are they are brought up and under what circumstances during the period when their mothers are confined to jails.

A bench headed by Justice V M Kanade also asked the Government to file reply to suggestions made by Prayas, an organisation which works for the rehabilitation of children of women prisoners.

The matter arose out of a report filed in 2014 by the Project Director of Prayas Vijay Raghavan on the children of women prisoners to Justice V M Kanade who was the Chairperson of Juvenile Justice Committee of the Bombay High court.

Raghavan is also a professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences here.

Justice Kanade converted this report suo motu into a PIL which is being heard since then.

The report said that while women serve their sentence in prison, their children outside are neglected and often turn into school drop outs. Children above six years whose mothers are sent to jails are deprived of education, it further said.

The report suggested that the prison authorities should allow mulakat (meeting) of such children with their mothers in prison at regular intervals. Besides, social workers should be appointed to help in improving children-parent relationship.

The report also suggested that women are produced before a court after their arrest in a case, the concerned Magistrate or Judge should ask them about their children and ensure that they are looked after well.

In case the children of women prisoners are not looked after by their families, then the police should produce them before the child welfare committee of the state government.

The report has also suggested that financial assistance should be given to such children by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare.

Raghavan, the project director of Prayas, has been appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) to assist in this matter.

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