[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Delhi High Court has agreed to examine the issue raised in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a declaration that conjugal visits in jail are a fundamental right of prisoners and their spouses.
A division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi on May 31, 2019, accordingly, issued a notice to the Government of National Capital Territory (GNCT) and Director General (Prisons) asking them to respond to the petition within four weeks.
In his plea, Sahni has sought quashing of Rule 608 of Delhi Prison Rule, 2018 which provides for the interview of a prisoner with their spouse and family members subject to the presence of a Prison Officer. This Rule, according to the petitioner, prevents private contact with family members.
“Despite courts taking a progressive approach and various countries allowing conjugal visits considering it an important human right and also in the light of studies backing conjugal visits as a factor to cut down crimes in jail and reform inmates, the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018 are totally silent on the issue,” the petitioner submitted in the High Court.
Further, according to the petitioner, most of the prisoners in Delhi jails fall under the sexually active age group i.e. 21-50 years but are denied conjugal rights which is one of the reasons for increasing sex crimes and the spread of HIV in jails.
“Conjugal visits are to meet the fundamental and human rights of those incarcerated and also the spouses of those behind bars who suffer without having done anything wrong,” petitioner claimed.