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Supreme Court Grants Bail To Meghalaya Woman After Two Years Of No Trial

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Supreme Court Grants Bail To Meghalaya Woman: After staying two years in jail without a trial and having given birth to a child in that period, the Supreme Court of India granted bail to a 21-year-old woman from Meghalaya, Drabhamon Phawa, who was arrested in a human trafficking case.

The bail was given because, despite a lapse of almost two years, her trial has not commenced. The Supreme Court said that she cannot be kept in confinement indefinitely. The judgement was given by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

Phawa was pregnant in February 2020, when she was arrested and kept in jail.

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“Having heard counsel for the parties and taking into consideration the fact that the petitioner has suffered incarnation for a period of 18 months and has also delivered a child during custody, we deem it to be a fit case to grant her bail. The petitioner is, accordingly, directed to be enlarged on bail on terms and conditions to be imposed by the trial court. The special leave petitions stand disposed of accordingly,” read the court judgement on the case.

Phawa was represented in court by senior advocate Salman Khurshid and advocate TK Nayak. They stated in their argument that Phawa was herself brought to Delhi and forced into the flesh trade. Therefore, they alleged that she too was a survivor of a prostitution racket. The advocates also stated that she was pregnant during the arrest and spent the entire time in confinement. It is not just her in the prison, her child is also there with her, stated the advocates.

On behalf of the Delhi Government Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati argued against the petition for bail filed by Phawa on the seriousness of the offences committed by her.

According to the National Crime Record Bureau data on the number of women inmates living in prison with children in India, 1,543 women out of the 19,913 women inmates across the country live with their children. According to the IndiaSpend article, mothers in jail often struggle to feed appropriate food to their children. The child can stay with their mother till the age of six. “Prisons have largely designed from the perspective of managing issues of male prisoners,” experts were cited by the aforementioned article.