The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab and Haryana governments and the Chandigarh administration to constitute jail reforms committees to formulate a scheme for creating an environment for conjugal and family visits for inmates in jails.
As per the order, the committee will be headed by a retired high court judge and would have a social scientist, an expert in jail reformation and prison management, among others, as members in each state and union territory.
Apart from formulating a scheme for the creation of an environment for conjugal and family visits for jail inmates, the committee would also identify the categories of inmates entitled to such visits.
“The committee shall also evaluate options of expanding the scope and reach of ‘open prisons’, where certain categories of convicts and their families can stay together for long periods, and recommend necessary infrastructure for actualising the same,” the judgment stated.
The judgment by the bench of justice Surya Kant came a couple of months ago but was provided recently by the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The jail reforms committee would also study the practices of visits in other jails and make recommendations accordingly, with special emphasis on the goals of reformation and rehabilitation of convicts and needs of families of convicts.
The committee has also been tasked with suggesting ways and means of enhancing facilities for frequent linkage and connectivity between the convicts and family members and prepare a long-term plan for modernisation of the jail infrastructure, keeping in view this order.
The committee would also recommend desired amendments in the rules/policies to ensure the grant of parole, furlough for conjugal visits and the eligibility conditions for the grant of such relief.
As per the order, the committee would also classify the convicts entitled to conjugal visits and determine whether the husband and wife who both stand convicted should, as a matter of policy, be included in such a list, keeping in view the risk and danger of law and security, adverse social impact and multiple disadvantages to their child.
The HC judgment came on the petitions of a couple who were tried for murder of of a 16-year-old in a ransom case. The duo had approached the HC to seek directions to the Punjab government to make arrangements for their conjugal life and procreation within the jail premises.