iconimg Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mohamed Thaver, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, December 18, 2012
The 24-year-old woman inmate of Byculla jail, who delivered a stillborn boy in the toilet of the jail last week, did not tell prison authorities about her pregnancy as she feared she would be told to abort it, said a member of an NGO, who visited the woman at JJ Hospital following HT’s report.

Prison authorities and the local police had said in their statement that they did not know why the woman had kept jail authorities in the dark about her pregnancy.

A member of the NGO, who had spoken to the woman, told HT, “She told us she had indeed not informed the prison authorities about her pregnancy. When we asked her why, she said she was scared she would be told by jail authorities to have an abortion and so decided to hide her pregnancy from them.”

The member said, “We are not sure why she felt she would be asked to have an abortion because this is not what the law states.”

In the meantime, a city NGO, Majlis, that works to ensure women know their legal rights, have made an application to Chief Justice of the Bombay high court Mohit Shah on Friday, requesting him to initiate an inquiry into the condition of women in women’s prisons following HT’s report about the 24-year-old.

A member of the NGO, requesting anonymity, said, “On Friday, we gave a letter to the Chief Justice to institute a judicial enquiry into the matter. The Hindustan Times report about the 24-year-old woman is attached to the letter.

But, as the Chief Justice is on leave for a week, and thereafter, the courts are closed, there is bound to be delay in following up this matter in the court.”