Marriage proposal to Abu Salem sparks off debate

Mumbai: The marriage of underworld operative Abu Salem has set off a debate among the lawmakers to allow or not to allow jail inmates to exercise their conjugal rights.

The legal eagles and eminent scholars are of the view that allowing such people to exercise their conjugal rights will give them an opportunity to ameliorate.

According to senior advocate Rizwan Merchant, allowing prisoner to spend time with their spouse is a common practice in Western countries so that they do not get back to criminal mindset, as reported in DNA.

“There is no such system for undertrials in India. However, for convicts, we have the option of granting facilities like parole and furlough.”

Lawyer Farhana Shah, who was appearing in support of the woman, said Indian courts do not give a positive response to application that are filed for getting married under certain religions.

“Three 1993 blasts convicts namely Bashir Gani, Farouque Powle and Shoaib Ghansar had expressed their desire to get married under the Muslim Marriage Act. However the court had rejected their applications on the grounds that the second step after marriage under the Act is consummating it, but that cannot be allowed.”

Denying prisoners to marry will equivalent to violation of human rights, said Shah. “Like food is an important aspect for a human, same is the case with conjugal rights. Humans can tend to go under depression if this right is refused. The practice followed by Western countries should be adopted by India.”

According to Human rights experts, they too feel that marriage can help a prisoner become a good citizen and leads a normal life when release from jail.

“If prisoners are reminded of his family, he will ensure that his behavior is the best and he would turn into a good citizen,” said Murali Karnam, an assistant professor with Tata Institute of Social Science’s Nod