HC asks NCW to check if women wed convicts on parole out of free will

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HC asks NCW to check if women wed convicts on parole out of free will
TNN | Aug 24, 2020, 04:36 IST
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Chennai: Taking serious view of convicts, particularly life convicts getting married while out on parole, and thereafter returning to prison leaving the wife to suffer in her matrimonial home alone, the Madras high court has asked the National Commission for Women (NCW) to ascertain whether a mechanism must be brought in to find out whether such marriages are arranged with the free consent of such women, or if they agreed to it under coercion and compulsion.
“The mental agony and hardship the women undergo by marrying convicts is unimaginable as they have to lead their life alone,” a division bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice V M Velumani said. “No lady will come forward to marry a person undergoing imprisonment, that too, life imprisonment,” the court observed, adding that the NCW must examine the to-be-brides and find out if her consent was obtained by coercion due to various religious and communal reasons.
Women marrying convicts suffer psychologically, physiologically apart from the stigma and married women need moral support and physical companionship of her husband, the judges said.
The court made the observations while hearing a habeas corpus plea moved by Shamma, seeking 30 days ordinary leave for her husband Aslam, a life convict detained in Coimbatore Central Prison. Aslam is in prison for more than 20 years now. “It is stated by the petitioner that the convict married her when out on a day’s parole 10 years ago. She has been living with her mother-in-law since,” the judges said.
It is not only in the present case but in many cases life convicts marry and return to prison, the court noted.
Clubbing together all such cases in which convicts married during parole, the court suo motu impleaded the NCW, the state commission for women and the Union ministry for women and children development and directed them to file their responses by August 27.
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