“Pregnant women need bail, not jail! Courts must restore the due and sacrosanct freedom of women in motherhood pro tanto. Even when the offences are highly grave and accusations very severe, they still deserve temporary bail or suspension of sentence, extending to a year after delivery. Further, those who stand convicted and their appeals closed also deserve similar relief, in whatever camouflage it may come.” the High Court of Himachal Pradesh made an important Observation in the case of Monica versus state of Himachal Pradesh, granting an anticipatory Bail to a pregnant woman booked under NDPS act.
An anticipatory bail application was filed by the pregnant woman in apprehension of her arrest in a case of NDPS in which her mother in law and her husband were arrested. It was alleged that she had conspired with her husband in in commercial substance trade which was found in their house.
The woman pleaded in her defence that she had been living in Punjab since August with her two minor childern and that there is no involvement of her in this matter.
After analysing the above facts the court held; the woman has been married a decade ago and has no criminal antecedent. While her husband has a criminal history. Also, answers to all the questions related to the alleged involvement, knowledge, Intervention etc. of her will depend upon the quality of evidence submitted and the firmness of cross examination during the trial.
While passing the order the court relied upon International Conventions such as United Nations rule for treatment of women prisoners, Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and data on women in prison by the Woman and child development ministry.
Further the court observed that taking birth in jail will be traumatic for a child and will bring social hatred from the society. Good nutritious food in prison and physical health cannot substitute mental stress.