Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life convict seeks conjugal rights in jail

In a plea before the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a woman serving a life sentence has requested that she be granted conjugal rights with her husband, who is on death roll, within the prison so that she could bear a child. The couple, convicted in the abduction and murder of a 16-year-old-boy, has stated that the accused (husband) is the only son of his parents and they wish to have a heir to the family.

Jasvir Singh and Sonia, within eight months of their marriage, kidnapped the boy and killed him in Hoshiarpur, Punjab. Lodged separately in the Central Jail, Patiala, the two were first awarded death penalty by the trial court under Section 364 A, 201, 120-B of the India Penal Code, which was confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court here. Singh was given the death sentence while Sonia received a life term for the crime.

Plea challenged

While the couple now want a common cell so that they can have a child before Jasvir is hanged to death, Ravi Verma, father of the slain teenager, has challenged the couple's petition in the High Court. “Had they known the value of children they would not have killed my son. When we came to know of the petition seeking conjugal rights to have a child, we moved the High Court. We will fight it tooth and nail,” Mr. Verma said.

Right to procreate

The court has appointed an amicus curiae to assist the court to arrive at a decision. Gursharan Kaur Mann, Sonia's counsel, said the right to procreate survived in imprisonment. Even if the person has been sentenced to death, his rights would remain the same.

The couple kidnapped the boy in a car on February 14, 2005, while he was on his way to school and demanded a ransom of Rs. 50 lakh. But even as negotiations were on, his naked body was dumped near Adampur town, 20 km from Hoshiarpur. The child died after an overdose of a tranquillizer. They dumped the body, but continued the ransom drama till police caught up with them.

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