Delhi High Court: Convicts has Fundamental Right to Parenthood and procreation

Life Imprisonment- Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: December 23, 2023 at 12:08 IST

In a significant ruling, the Delhi High Court has recognized the fundamental right of prisoners to procreation and parenthood, safeguarded under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The verdict, delivered in the case of Kundan Singh v. The State Govt of NCT Delhi, emphasizes that this right is not absolute but subject to contextual considerations, taking into account factors such as the prisoner’s parental status and age.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma stressed the need for a balanced approach that respects individual rights while considering broader societal concerns.

The Court highlighted the consistent refusal of Indian judiciary to deny fundamental rights to prisoners, interpreting constitutional rights in favor of upholding new situations and challenges.

While acknowledging that incarceration restricts various aspects of married life, Justice Sharma asserted that the denial of parole should be evaluated based on its impact on the convict’s future life, guided by the principle that punishment is intended for reform rather than punitive measures.

The case involved Kundan Singh, a life sentence convict for murder, who, after 14 years in jail, sought parole at the age of 41. Singh, along with his 38-year-old wife, expressed their desire to have a child through In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to protect their lineage.

Despite the rejection of their parole request under the Delhi Prison Rules, 2018, which do not explicitly mention procreation and parenthood as grounds for parole, the Court asserted its authority to interpret and adjudicate based on the intent and content of the rules.

The Court concluded that Singh and his wife genuinely sought to preserve their lineage and, consequently, granted Singh a four-week parole under specified conditions.

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