Besides that, the Court noted that none of the appellant’s family members ever visited her in jail. Instead of ensuring complete investigation in the case, her family members had instead joined hands to create a façade of acrimony between the woman and her mother-in-law to build a case against her.
Observing the difference in treatment meted out to a woman and a man accused of a crime, by the kith and kin of the accused, Justice Mittal stated,
In cases where the man of the family has been accused, or even stands convicted, of extremely gruesome and heinous offences, the entire family rallies around him. Be it the wife and children or parents and siblings, they all not only defend the case vigorously but also do their utmost to secure bail for the alleged offender or suspension of sentence for the male convict.
The Court also observed that the society hardly ever gives a second chance to women prisoners. The Court then gave plausible suggestions to overcome them.
“It is high time that robust programs involving women, prisoners, especially those not educated and from economically weaker sections must be developed in the jail, that is those stretch, beyond the traditional and stereotyped activities of agarbati – jam – pickle – papad making skills for which consumption is scanty or hair dressing, tailoring, beauty care.”
“Even the illiterate prisoners (women and men) can be imparted skills in such areas which could provide crucial economic opportunity. Training for toddler care may enable the prisoner to develop or assist in crèches and anganwadis, nursery schools etc. These are financially viable options requiring no infrastructure and deserve to be considered.”
As a closing remark, the Court stated that,
“Having undergone the punishment, the prisoners deserve a second chance from society – and not the secondary life long sentence of social ostracization.”
The Court has directed a copy of the judgment to be sent to the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Commissioner of Police and Director General (Prisons), Tihar Central Jail to explore appropriate programs and intervention so that mainstreaming and rehabilitation of women prisoners is not compromised in any manner.
Written and Published by barandbench.com/