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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the principal secretary of the Women and Child Development Department to be present in court so that all issues relating to child beggars and children of women prisoners can be dealt with.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice N.M. Jamdar also suggested that a committee with sitting judges can be constituted so that it can bring all departments together and empower them to take necessary steps.
After additional government pleader Hiten Venegavkar submitted a register on the number of children in prisons, the court said the State’s reply was not satisfactory. The bench said the State had not been able to provide prison-wise statistics as directed. The matter has been adjourned to June 9.
The court was hearing a suo motu petition based on a report filed by Prayaas, the fieldwork programme of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, pointing out the need for protection and welfare of children of women prisoners. The court had appointed Prayaas project director Vijay Raghavan as the amicus curie in the case.
In the last hearing, Mr. Raghavan informed the court that they had submitted the suggestions to the State. The suggestions included ensuring that the police inform a woman prisoner at the time of arrest that she has the right to take her infant child with her in custody, and that the accused is not questioned in the presence of children.
News article in The Hindu: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/hc-summons-principal-secretary/article18733158.ece
News in The Sabha: http://www.thesabha.org/newspaper/mumbai/suo-moto-pil-on-children-of-women-prisoners-1072004-at-bombay-high-court-a-ray-of-hope/
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