Supreme Court of India Wednesday sought a status report on foreign prisoners especially from Pakistan, Pakistan Administered Kashmir, and Afghanistan, languishing in different jails of India without trial.
According to the statement issued by Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP), a Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan has directed the counsels of the Union of India to file ‘status report’ on the foreign prisoners mostly from Pakistan, PaK and Afghanistan who have been suffering in different Indian jails for more than a decade without trial.
The Union of India in its rejoinder in writ petition (Crl.) No.310/2005 filed by Prof. Bhim Singh had admitted that several foreign prisoners had been released and there were 254 such prisoners in different Indian jails, mostly Pakistanis and residents of PaK, JKNPP said.
Prof. Bhim Singh informed the Supreme Court that several prisoners from Pakistan and PaK are suffering for years in different Indian jails, mostly, detained under the J&K Public Safety Act. He strongly argued that no prisoner can be detained for more than two years under PSA, J&K.
“The Union of India was directed in May this year to file status report on the PaK and Pakistani prisoners who have been detained in different Indian jails and what was the reason,” JKNPP said in a statement said.
“Prof. Bhim Singh regretted that Union of India has not considered that direction given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India regarding the trial and deportation of the Pakistani prisoners who had completed their respective sentences in the respective prisons,” the statement added.
The Division Bench of the apex Court granted an opportunity to the counsels representing the Union of India to file the status report and announced that the case shall be listed on November 14, 2017.
On Tuesday 11 more Pakistani prisoners, including a young girl, were repatriated by India on Tuesday via Attari land border on completion of their jail sentences. However, two Pakistani sisters and a daughter of one of them, await nod from the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) for clearance of their files. They have deposited the requisite amount for their release.
Meanwhile, two Pakistani sisters Fatima and Mumtaz, are still waiting to be freed from an Indian prison even after an NGO had deposited the fine for their release to save them further two years of imprisonment. Batala-based NGO Humanity Club had deposited Rs 4 lakh to secure release of Fatima and Mumtaz, who were caught smuggling narcotics into India and were sentenced to 10 years. In case of non-payment of fine, both women and Hina, daughter of Fatima who was born in the Amritsar jail, would have to serve another two years.
Society for Women Empowerment and Green Causes president Navjot Kaur Chabba said she was contemplating filing a writ petition seeking expeditious movement of the file so that Fatima and Mumtaz, along with the young girl, could be sent home.
“Despite depositing the required fine, the delay in sending the Pakistani women back to their country has undermined the very purpose of the NGO’s gesture,” she said.
Navjot said she had contacted the Union home ministry and was told that in case of release of Pakistani prisoners, the file had to be cleared by the PMO.