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Mumbai’s female inmates ‘languishing’ in due to inferior legal aid

Jail authorities acknowledged the problems and said that they were working towards improving the conditions.

mumbai Updated: Apr 28, 2018 23:36 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
Byculla,Byculla jail,Byculla prison
The NCW suggests an in-house gynaecologist and pediatrician for inmates and their children(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The apathetic condition of undertrials in Maharashtra jails was once again highlighted when the National Commission for Women (NCW) visited the Byculla Woman’s prison on Friday.

Led by chairperson Rekha Sharma, the NCW team’s visit was part of the ongoing project to formulate a manual for comprehensive prison reforms for women inmates in India. According to Sharma, there are many undertrials languishing in Byculla Jail despite being granted bail, as they are unable to pay the bail bond.

The inspection by NCW was carried out in order to assess and look into various aspects including overcrowding, availability of legal help, rehabilitation plans and proper facilities for the children of female inmates.

The team observed that there has been a marked improvement in the amenities available in Byculla Women’s Jail and the sensitivity to women. “A separate area has been demarcated for lodging inmates who have younger children and the inmates were happy with the quality of food provided. However, the areas that need substantial improvement are availability of a formal in-house gynecologist, pediatrician for children of inmates, crèche facility and guidance and policy for pregnant women,” Sharma said.

She added that the main problem observed during inspection and after interacting with inmates was the inefficient legal aid service to the undertrials. “We met undertrails suffering prolonged detention due to substandard legal aid. Many undertrails were languishing in jail despite being granted bail as most had no financial means by which to pay for bail bonds,” said Sharma.

The team discussed these issues with the jail authorities who acknowledged the problems and said that they were working towards improving these conditions for the inmates.

First Published: Apr 28, 2018 23:35 IST