Every pregnant woman deserves the dignity guaranteed by the Constitution during motherhood, Delhi High Court has said while granting three months’ interim bail to an expectant mother accused of kidnapping and attempt to murder.
Justice Anoop Kumar Mendiratta said giving birth to a child in custody would not only be traumatic for the mother but also impact the child adversely.
“Pregnancy of a woman is a special circumstance, which needs to be appreciated, as giving birth to a child in custody would not only be a trauma to the mother but also create an everlasting adverse impact on the child, whenever questioned about his birth. Every pregnant female deserves the dignity enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India during motherhood,” the court said in its order dated August 18.
“The court is expected to take note of the interest of a child, who is not expected to be exposed to the prisons, until and unless there is a grave danger in releasing the petitioner on bail,” it said.
The court noted that the criminal law provided that the conditions for not releasing a person charged with certain offences on bail shall not apply when the person is under 16, or is a woman, or is sick or infirm. Further, jail rules state that, as far as possible, arrangements for temporary release will be made to enable an inmate to deliver in a hospital outside the prison.
The court also recorded that in accordance with the medical report, delivery facilities were not available in the jail concerned and the petitioner was being referred to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for delivery.
“Since the petitioner is a pregnant woman and is expecting delivery, she deserves to be enlarged on interim bail for a period of three months from the date of release on furnishing a personal bond in the sum of Rs 20,000 with one surety in the like amount to the satisfaction of the learned trial court,” the court ordered.
The prosecution opposed the petitioner’s plea for interim bail for six months on the ground that the pregnancy of a female undertrial prisoner itself was not a ground on the basis of which an accused involved in a heinous offence could be enlarged on bail and there was a high security risk to the lives and safety of the victims.