Request Denied to Release Women, Children and Transpersons in Delhi Prisons during The Pandemic: Delhi High Powered Committee

Team SoOLEGAL 8 Sep 2020 4:19pm

Request Denied to Release Women, Children and Transpersons in Delhi Prisons during The Pandemic: Delhi High Powered Committee

A recent request to reclassify persons to be released from Delhi prison on interim bail/parole including all women, children and transpersons, was denied by the Delhi High Committee.

Further, the committee claimed that, on the basis of the committee's objective satisfaction and taking all relevant factors and the nature of the offence into account, it has absolute discretion to determine which class or category of prisoners who could be released from prison on interim bail or parole.

The Committee made a few observations in response to the letter sent by Dr Uma Chakravarti (historian/Ret. Faculty DU), DrNavsharan Singh (independent Feminist Researcher), DrMahuyaBandyopadhyay (Associate professor IIT Delhi), and DrPratikshaBakshi (Associate Professor JNU) that it could not have a prisoner-centred approach and that some of the conditions regarding women have already eased, vis a vis man.

They urged the Committee to review its decision and release all prisoners disadvantaged by gender, class, caste, religion, and race; and disability, comorbidity, disease, and age, regardless of nationality, conviction, or crime during the pandemic, for the following reasons:

·       Discrimination on the basis of caste, community, race, descent and religion should be avoided.

·       Women and transpersons as a class do not have the means, powers, and standing to influence witnesses or the power to flee.

·       Compared to the overall inmate population, inmates and transpersons are in minority proportions.

·       Given that special women's prisons are limited, most woman prisoners are locked up in male prisons in small congested spaces that are unaware of their gender needs.

·       Not to bring pregnant women, mothers and children in custody during the pandemic, considering their vulnerability to COVID-19 contracting in custodial institutions.

Notwithstanding these submissions, the Committee noted “this Committee while adopting various criteria in its earlier meetings had taken into consideration women as a separate class and accordingly relaxed some of the condition with respect to them vis a vis the male prisoners.”

Tagged: Delhi High Committee   COVID-19   women   children   transpersons  
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