Death of Child in Indian Jail, NHRC fined Govt.
The National Human Rights Commission of India has recommended central state Uttar Pradesh government to pay One Lakh rupees as monetary relief to the bereaved mother, who delivered a female child in a jail and lost her due to inadequate medical facilities and lack of nutritious diet.
Boby, the woman prisoner was admitted in District jail Agra on 20th June 2006. She was in advanced stage of pregnancy. She delivered a female child on 23rd August, 2006 in the jail. On 16th September, 2006 the child became ill and was taken to S.N. Medical College along with the mother but the life of the child could not be saved.
The Commission considered a magisterial enquiry report which revealed that the child was born in the toilet of the prison. No proper arrangements were made in the jail for the delivery and also neither the mother nor the child was given nutritious diet. The result was that the child was very weak. According to the post-mortem report the death of the child occurred due to intra-cerebral hemorrhage.
The Commission found prima facie that the administration had failed in its duty to provide nutrition or protection to the new born child and therefore, a Show Cause Notice Under section 18 of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 was issued to the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The Commission noted that the Uttar Pradesh Government in its response to NHRC notice has not cared to explain the circumstances resulting in the death of the infant child. Therefore, reasonably presuming that the State has not denied its liability in the matter, the Commission on 20th April, 2009 directed the UP Government to pay One Lakh rupees monetary relief to the bereaved mother. It has also asked for compliance report along with proof of payment within eight weeks from the date of receipt of the recommendations.
The relief awarded to the bereaved mother is based on the Indian Supreme Court judgment in a case where some guidelines were issued for the upkeep of children of women prisoners who were forced to stay in the jail with their mothers either because of their tender age or due to some other circumstances. One of the guidelines was that Government shall lay down dietary scales for children keeping in view the calorie requirement as per medical norms. For pregnant female prisoners the Apex court directed the concerned authorities to ensure that the 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.
While considering this case, the Commission observed that the Apex Court guidelines are not being followed and innocent children of women prisoners continue to be victims of administrative apathy and indifference. The Commission has also asked the state Government to submit a report giving details of the steps taken by it to make compliance of the guidelines given by the Supreme Court.