Separate cell for women in Tihar jail: Delhi govt tells HC

Separate cell for women in Tihar jail: Delhi govt tells HC

The city government today told the Delhi High Court that there are separate police lock-ups for women detainees in order to protect them from "sexual abuse" and "ill-treatment".

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw was apprised by Delhi government's standing counsel Zubeda Begum that Tihar jail has a separate cell for women and is managed by a lady officer.

She further said pregnant and ailing women are given proper food and treatment in the cell.
The counsel said Tihar jail officials, especially women, look after the children of female inmates too.

"The children who are six-year-old or above are sent to school and kept in hostel with consent of the mother," she said, adding Jail no.6 is exclusively meant for women detainees and their affairs are being handled by a lady officer.

Delhi government's response came during hearing of a PIL filed by advocate Avadh Kaushik, which said there was an urgent need to bring down the sexual abuse, harassment, ill-treatment and torture committed upon women detainees in police lock-ups.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, the petitioner pointed to two separate criminal cases registered in Rohini, where women were arrested by policemen at night without proper permission from the magistrate courts concerned.

He said they were arrested by male police personnel and were not produced before the magistrate courts concerned immediately but were produced the next day.

In both cases, the women alleged they were sexually abused, harassed, humiliated and tortured at the hands of male police personnel in the police lock-up, the plea said.

The plea sought appointment of an Additional Sessions Judge, preferably a woman, to make periodical, surprise and random visits to such lock-ups especially at night to see the condition of the women suspects.

The PIL has sought a direction for the Police Commissioner to deal with complaints of violation of human and women rights by police officers in lock-ups.

"Direct Police Commissioner to deal with the complainants and information received regarding violation of human and women rights by police officers in lock-ups promptly, seriously and with a heavy hand in a deterrent manner to prevent the abuse of power by police officers," it said.

The petition also asked for suitable "sensitisation programmes" to make metropolitan magistrates more trained, sensitive and judicious with respect to granting permission to police to arrest a woman at night.

The petition, which has also made the Ministry of Home Affairs a party in the case, further states "it is a matter of disappointment that even Delhi Legal Services Authority took no step in bringing the matter before this court." 

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