Women Getting Pregnant In West Bengal Jail, 196 Babies Were Born: Calcutta High Court

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The Calcutta High Court has directed the transfer of a case to a criminal division bench following assertions by the amicus curiae that female inmates in correctional facilities in West Bengal are becoming pregnant, with 196 babies reportedly residing in various such institutions.

Tapas Kumar Bhanja, the attorney appointed as amicus curiae by the court in response to a 2018 suo motu action on prison overcrowding, presented a memorandum outlining these concerns and recommendations to a division bench headed by Chief Justice T. S. Sivagnanam.

The bench acknowledged the gravity of the issues raised in the memorandum, highlighting the concerning revelation that women detainees are conceiving while in custody.

The amicus curiae’s report revealed that approximately 196 infants are currently residing in various correctional facilities in West Bengal.

Bhanja recommended restricting the access of male staff from correctional homes to the areas designated for female inmates. He further informed the division bench, which includes Justice Supratim Bhattacharya, that a copy of the report has been delivered to the office of the state’s Advocate General.

The bench directed that “In order to have an effective adjudication of all these matters, we deem it appropriate that the matter should be placed before the Hon’ble Division Bench having criminal roster determination”.

The Chief Justice mandated that the issue be presented to him for necessary directives.

In 2018, a division bench led by the former Chief Justice of the high court instigated a suo motu investigation into overcrowding in correctional facilities within the state.

Furthermore, several associated cases filed prior and subsequent to the motion have been consolidated and are presently being adjudicated collectively.

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