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Report No. 135

Women in Custody

Chapter I


1.1. Genesis and scope.-

This report is concerned with certain questions relating to women in custody and has been prepared in pursuance of a reference made to the Commission by the Ministry of Law and Justice. Minister of Law and Justice has forwarded a copy of the Report submitted by the National Expert Committee on Women Prisoners at the behest of the Minister of State, Department of Youth Affairs and Sports, Women and Child Development.

The Minister of State has requested the Law Commission to examine the two issues arising out of the Report Vol. I one issue relating to Nari Bandigriha Adalats in the nature of mobile judicial camps (vide para. 478 of the Report Vol. I) and the second issue relating to the efficacy and relevance of various legislations having a bearing on women's status in custody and criminality (vide para. 480.4 of the Report). The aforesaid paragraphs, namely, 478 and 480.4 of the Report, read as under:-

"478. In addition to the separate Women's Courts or Family Courts, it is recommended that Nari Bandigriha Adalats be held in the nature of mobile judicial camps as an immediate modality for rendering speedy redress to women in custody. Whereas the Family Court or Women's Courts can be the stable permanent mechanism, the mobile adalats or court is required as an immediate as well as instant corrective step. Such camps and courts should be held urgently and routinely in social welfare and mental health custodial institutions also to clear the backlog of pending cases, and to render speedy justice. The mobile adalats should be conducted on a district-wise-or cluster basis so as to cover all prisons and non-prison custodial institutions. Its objectives should be to provide speedy justice.

480.4 A critical assessment of the efficacy and relevance of various legislations bearing on women's status in custody and their criminality should be undertaken by the Law Commission in consultation with other legal social science and social defence bodies of repute and their findings should form the basis for concrete reform by way of de-penalisation, de-criminalisation, de-institutionalisation, etc.".

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