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Report No. 135

The following concrete protective measures are recommended as regards female prisoners:

(a) On admission to jail, a female prisoner should be medically examined. If medically necessary, she should be kept separately in a female enclosure. On each occasion of readmission to jail after temporary release, the same course should be adopted.

(Paragraph 2.27)

(b) Where a female prisoner is suspected of pregnancy in custody, she shall be sent to the District Government Hospital. In case of advanced pregnancy, she shall be shifted to female ward of the Government Hospital.

(Paragraph 2.27)

(c) A female prisoner shall not be handcuffed or made to year fetter cross-heir during transit from one jail to another or to the court or for investigation. (Paragraph 2.18) Besides this, she shall be escorted by the Matron or Female Warden, if she is required to leave the female enclosure. During transit, a female relative shall be allowed to accompany her.

(Paragraph 2.28)

(d) Where there are no suitable arrangements for housing women prisoner, they should be sent to a suitable institution wherever practicable.

(Paragraph 2.29)

(e) At places other than Sessions headquarters, a judicial officer (preferably a lady judicial officer) shall make an inspection of the jail where the women in custody are detained. Such inspection shall be made at least once in every two months and the District and Sessions Judge may make appropriate recommendations in the light of the inspection report.

(Paragraph 2.30)

At the Sessions headquarters, the Sessions Judge shall carry out such Inspection. The object is to ensure that measures for the protection of women as recommended in this report are implemented. Copies of these inspection Reports shall be forwarded to the concerned officers.

(Paragraph 2.30)

(f) Apart from surprise visits as above, jails where there are women prisoners shall be visited by visitors appointed by the Government. Of these jail visitors, one should be a medical officer and two should be social workers (of whom, wherever practicable, one shall be a woman). Two visitors should visit the jail at least once in six months and make a report to the Sessions Judge.

(Paragraph 2.31)

(g) These provisions should apply, not only to women prisoners, but also to women in custody in police lockups or as detenus under a law providing for preventive detention, irrespective of whether the woman is kept in custody during investigation, inquiry or trial or after conviction etc.

(Paragraph 2.32)

(12) As a consequence of our comprehensive recommendation relating to medical examination of women involved in the criminal process, consequential amendment may be made in section 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

(Paragraph 2.6)

(13) In section 160(1), Cr. P.C. 1973 (which prohibits the summoning of women, etc., during investigation by the police), certain verbal changes should be made.

(Paragraph 2.10)

(14) Section 416, Cr. P.C. should be amended to make the commutation of death sentence passed on a pregnant woman mandatory.

(Paragraph 2.13)

(15) At present, by section 437(1), Cr. P.C., a restriction is imposed on the release, on bail, of a person accused of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, but the first proviso to that sub-section rests in the court a discretion to release on bail certain categories of persons (persons below the age of 16 years, women, and sick and infirm persons). The recommendation is that in such cases, the court shall direct that such persons shall be released on bail, unless the court, for reasons to be recorded, considered it proper not to release such person on bail.

(Paragraph 2.23)

(16) For violation of the mandate contained in section 160(3), Cr. P.C. (which provides that a person below 15 years or a woman shall be examined only at his or her residence), a specific penal provision should be inserted in the Indian renal Code, as section 166A.

(Paragraph 2.12)

(17) In deciding about release on admonition of an offender under section 3 of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, the court should have regard also to the fact that the offender is a woman (where the person convicted is a women).

(Paragraph 5.8)

(18) Section 4(1) of the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958, which empowers the court to release offenders convicted of certain offences on probation of good conduct, should be emended to provide that in deciding about such release, the court shall hove regard also to the fact, that the offender is a woman (where the person convicted is a woman).

(Paragraph 5.9)

(19) Section 37(1), Mental Health Act, 1987 should be amended so as to provide that among the five visitors to the institutions falling within the section, at least one shall be a woman, wherever practicable.

(Paragraph 6.6)

(20) For punishing the offence under section 81, Mental Health Act, 1987 (Indignity, etc., on a mentally ill person in custody), a new section 84A should be inserted, prescribing, for the above offence, a punishment of imprisonment up to 2 years or fine up to Rs. 5000 or both.

(Paragraphs 6.9 and 6.10)

Set out in the Appendix I to this Report are our recommendations in the form of draft amendments in the relevant enactments, that is to say,-

(a) the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973;

(b) the Indian Penal Code;

(c) the Probation of Offenders Act, 1958; and

(d) the Mental Health Act, 1987.

We hope that those recommendations, if implemented, will alleviate the hardship of women in custody to a great extent. We conclude this report on this optimistic note.

M.P. Thakkar,C

Y.V. Anjaneyulu,

P.M. Bakshi,

C.V.C. Krishnamurty,

New Delhi,
Dated: 14th December, 1989.

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