R.D. Upadhyay vs State of A.P. - Supreme Court Cases

 R.D. Upadhyay vs State of A.P. - Important Supreme Court Cases 2006

On 13th April, 2006, a three Judges Bench in R.D. Upadhyay vs State of A.P. & Ors. [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 559 of 1994] held that “children of women prisoners who are living in jail require additional protection”. “In many respects they suffer the consequences of neglect”, the Bench said and accordingly issued directions so as to ensure that the minimum standards are met by all States and Union Territories vis-à-vis the children of women prisoners living in prison. Some of the important guidelines/directions issued are as follows:-

(i) “A child shall not be treated as an undertrial / convict while in jail with his/her mother. Such a child is entitled to food, shelter, medical care, clothing, education and recreational facilities as a matter of right.”

(ii) “Before sending a woman who is pregnant to a jail, the concerned authorities must ensure that jail in question has the basic minimum facilities for child delivery as well as for providing pre-natal and post-natal care for both, the mother and the child.” As far as possible and provided the woman prisoner has a suitable option, “arrangements for temporary release/parole (or suspended sentence in case of minor and casual offender) should be made to enable an expectant prisoner to have her delivery outside the prison. Only exceptional cases constituting high security risk or cases of equivalent grave descriptions can be denied this facility.”

(iii) “Births in prison, when they occur, shall be registered in the local birth registration office. But the fact that the child has been born in the prison shall not be recorded in the certificate of birth that is issued. Only the address of the locality shall be mentioned.”

(iv)“Female prisoners shall be allowed to keep their children with them in jail till they attain the age of six years.” Upon reaching the age of six years, “the child shall be handed over to a suitable surrogate as per the wishes of the female prisoner or shall be sent to a suitable institution run by the Social Welfare Department. As far as possible, the child shall not be transferred to an institution outside the town or city where the prison is located in order to minimize undue hardships on both mother and child due to physical distance.” Children kept under the protective custody in a home of the Department of Social Welfare “shall be allowed to meet the mother at least once a week.”

For securing compliance with its directions, the Bench directed that the Jail Manual and/or other relevant Rules, Regulations, instructions etc. be suitably amended within three months. However it also said that “if in some jails, better facilities are being provided, same shall continue.”

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