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Allow conjugal visits in jails: HC to Maharashtra

Jan 14, 2010 10:23 AM IST India India

Mumbai: In a bizarre suggestion, the Bombay High Court has orally remarked that the state government should consider conjugal visits in jails across Maharashtra. The remark comes in the wake of an increase in the number of HIV positive prisoners. Senior Advocate Anand Grover said, “In context to HIV in jails, the honourable High Court has opined that whether it would not be appropriate for the state government to consider conjugal vists." Statistics sourced from Maharashtra state aids control society reveal that as on November 1, 2009, over 9,200 jail inmates were tested for HIV of which 260 inmates were tested positive for HIV. Yerwada Central Prison in Pune has maximum number of aids infected inmates where 63 inmates were tested HIV positive. Similarly, Thane had 39, Nashik 33 and Mumbai 31 prisoners respectively who were tested positive for HIV. Canada, Australia, Denmark, France, Russia, UK and United States are some of the countires that allow regulated conjugal visits. Grover said, “There is nothing unusual about this. Conjugal visits also help with other health issues of the prisoners... mental depression etc.” The court directed the government to recruit medical officers for all prisons in Maharashtra by February 20 and to set up HIV-testing laboratories in the Nashik, Thane, Pune and Nagpur central prisons by January 20. Permitting conjugal visits may be a way of dealing with HIV crisis in the western countries but given that jails across the state of Maharashtra accommodate more prisoners than its capacity, one wonders if this is indeed the practical way to deal with HIV cases in the prisons across the state.