HC will compile data on appeals by women convicts

The convict was later found to be HIV positive and moved the apex court for bail while her appeal was pending before the court

The Bombay HC has notified that a Bench of the court has been assigned all criminal appeals against conviction, where the convict, or at least one of the convicts, is a woman.

The move comes after Supreme Court took a serious note of women convicts in appeal who are lodged in jails without bail. The apex court had also sought details on the pending appeals filed by such convicts across high courts.

The SC gave the directions while hearing a special leave petition filed by a Worli-resident who was convicted both by the trial court and the Bombay High Court for murder of her pregnant daughter-in-law. The convict was later found to be HIV positive and had moved the apex court for bail while her appeal was pending before the court.

The SC granted her a bail of Rs 20,000 after taking note of her health report dated October 8. It indicated that the convict was HIV positive and her health was in bad state.

In 2004, the woman and her son were both convicted by a sessions court for pouring kerosene on her daughter-in-law and setting her on fire. However, when they challenged their conviction in the High Court, it upheld her sentence but acquitted her son.

"Considering the fact that many women prisoners are languishing in jails for considerable (sic) long time and their appeals are pending in various high courts, we are inclined to direct Registrar Generals of all the high courts to submit the year-wise details of the criminal appeals pending in their respective courts in which women convicts are parties, within a period of one month," Justice K S Radhakrishna and Justice Dipak Misra wrote in their order. The court said the report must also indicate the current status and the period since the appeals are pending.

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