HC directs authorities to take personal interest to ensure Rubeena, her daughter Chand Tara ‘return to their roots’
Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed state as well as Indian authorities to deport Rubeena, a woman from Pakistan, and her 4-year-old daughter, Chand Tara, by taking “personal interest” to ensure they “return to their roots” at the earliest.
“The petitioner’s and her minor child’s position, at the moment, is of a person in no man’s land, which belongs to none, but fact of the matter is that the lady does belong to some place on the planet and it becomes duty of the concerned authorities to secure confirmation about her nationality at the earliest,” said a single bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar while hearing a contempt petition filed by Rubeena, currently lodged at Amphala jail in Jammu.
“Keeping in view the human aspect of the matter, which is of utmost importance for all, it is impressed upon the respondents (state and GoI) to take steps for settling the status (of Rubeena) at the earliest and it is also provided that consequential steps be taken and it be ensured that she and her minor child return to (their) roots,” the bench said while underlining that the duty cast upon the authorities to ensure their return to their native place was not “only statutory but also has its roots in international conventions to which India is a party.”
“The State and authorities of the (Government of India) shall take personal interest in settling this issue,” the court said and posted the contempt petition for further consideration in the first week of February 2017.
“In the meanwhile, (authorities are to) implement the judgement passed (by the court on May 20, 2014) and deport the petitioner and her minor child,” the court said and ordered authorities to file a compliance report before next date of hearing in the petition filed by Rubeena through her counsel, advocate Mir Shafaqat.
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 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 in Jammu.
The high court in May 2014 directed state authorities including Inspector General of Police, CID Kashmir, to take steps for the deportation within four weeks.
Initially, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, stated that Pakistan Embassy did not confirm the nationality of Rubeena on the basis of particulars furnished to them.
Subsequently, Mir Shafaqat filed an application before the court giving Rubeena’s complete address, her father’s, uncle’s and brother’s name as also the school where she studied at Hyderabad Pakistan.
Assistant Solicitor General of India SA Maroo submitted before the court that on the basis of particulars, the Under Secretary to Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs (Foreign Division) sent a communication on October 4, 2016, to him, informing him that the matter had been taken up with Ministry of External Affairs on April 26, May 20 and September 20, 2016, by enclosing the details and address of Rubeena.
Makroo said that the Ministry of External Affairs was requested to take up the matter with Pakistan High Commission for confirming the nationality status and issue of travel documents of Rubeena so that she can be repatriated to Pakistan. He also informed the court that so far no confirmation has been received. Makroo said that until Rubeena’s nationality was confirmed by the Pakistan High Commission in India, she cannot be repatriated to Pakistan.