HC censures govt, directs their deportation within three weeks
Srinagar: Unlike familiar stories of people accidentally crossing borders only to land in Indian or Pakistani jails, Rubeena’s story is that of spousal treachery.
A resident of Musa Colony in Pakistan’s Hyderabad, Rubeena was arrested near Kanachak in Jammu on November 6, 2012 and booked under section 14 of the Foreigners Act.
Carrying her four-month-old daughter in her lap, the woman in her mid twenties was trying to get back home from Jammu.
According to advocate Mir Shafaqat, who met her accidently at Kotbhalwal Central Jail Jammu, Rubeena told him that she had come along with her husband and the child for treatment in India on a valid passport. But her husband abandoned her and the child and went back to Pakistan.
Rubeena enquired about ways to return home and was first directed to Wagah where Pakistani officials refused her entry for lack of documents. Some people then told her that she could cross over to Pakistan via Jammu. However, she was arrested and subsequently detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Shafaqat, who has taken up many cases of detainees booked under PSA and Foreigners Act, filed a petition before J&K high court. The state highest court on 12 May 2014 directed her deportation along with the daughter, who grew up at the jail, to Pakistan.
However, there was noncompliance of the high court’s directions, prompting Shafaqat to file contempt petition on behalf of Rubeena.
The petition had come up for hearing before a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey who directed her deportation within three weeks. The direction followed perusal of the official record and hearing Shafaqat.
In the statement of facts filed by it, the state government said that Rubeena was provided consular access with the officials of Pakistan high commission on 26 February 2013 at central jail Amritsar. However, her nationality has not been confirmed by Pakistan high commissioner so far, the government said.
It said that Indian Ministry of Home Affairs was constantly pursuing the matter regarding the confirmation of her nationality through External Affairs Ministry.
“As soon as nationality of petitioner (Rubeena) is confirmed by Pakistan high commissioner and travel documents issued to her, she will be repatriated to Pakistan,” the government said. The court, however, was not amused by the reply.
“Perusal of the statement of facts filed by the state reveals that the matter has been taken up with ministry of external affairs and ministry of home affairs. However they are asking for full particulars details with regard to (her) nationality. Further perusal reveals that it is only because of full particulars about (her) that the case is stuck for final decision,” the court observed.
Primarily, the court said, it is the responsibility of the state government to seek her full details and to ensure her deportation along with her child as directed by the court on 12 May 2014.
“But the respondent state has left it to (her) who is a lady without any human support and it is the counsel who has come forward to help (her) and prosecute this petition. There should be no difficulty for the state respondents to ascertain the full particulars regarding her nationality,” the court said.
Advocate Shafaqat submitted that he has filed the application giving full details about the paternal relations of Rubeena. He furnished a copy of the application to counsel for the respondents. He said details given in the application were obtained by him for Rubeena.
“Therefore, In view of the particulars furnished in the application, it would not be difficult for the respondents to confirm the nationality of the petitioner with Pakistan High Commission and in making arrangements for her deportation along her minor child to her native country,” the court said and directed the state government to file response within three weeks.