Prison inmates can now have sex in Punjab

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that prison inmates who are married are permitted to have conjugal visits if they want to have a child, as the rights to have sex with a spouse or artificial insemination for progeny is a fundamental right. The ruling was made while disposing of a petition filed by Jasvir Singh and Sonia – who are currently inmates of the Central Jail, Patiala, who were given the death penalty for kidnapping and killing a teenage son of a rich Hoshiarpur family. The couple had sought permission to stay together and resume their conjugal life for the sake of progeny. Jasvir pleaded that he is an only son and that they were arrested in the case within 8 months of marriage. The petitioners claim their demand is not for personal gratification. The court denied Jasvir's plea considering the heinous nature of the crime committed, but enlarged the scope of the petition in the larger public interest, and held that the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution includes the right of convicts and jail inmates to have conjugal visits or artificial insemination as an alternative. The court held that these rights were to be regulated by law and were the sole prerogative of the state, for which a jail reforms committee has been constituted that will be headed by a retired high court judge. The committee will formulate a scheme for the creation of an environment for conjugal and family visits in jail. It will also identify categories of inmates entitled to such visits. The Committee is ordered to make its recommendation within a year after visiting major jail premises.