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In a significant judgment, the Supreme Court Tuesday directed the government to deport within a month 54 Pakistani nationals who are languishing in Indian jails for many years despite completing their sentences.

The apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H.L. Gokhale said: “Procedure can’t be allowed to overweigh the law and liberty” of a person.

The court said: “Show us which is this procedure that permits a foreign national to remain in jail for years after he has completed his sentence.”

We direct that the foreign nationals who have served out the sentence and whose national status has been established and are otherwise not required for any other offences in the country must be deported as early as possible but in no case later than one month from today, the court said.

The court said its order held good for five similarly placed prisoners belonging to Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Iran.

The judges said that he “union home ministry shall also request the Pakistan High Commission for the completion of the process of verification of the national status of the prisoners mentioned in a list of 365 such prisoners provided to court by it Nov 28, 2011.

The court wondered why the bureaucrats didnt do what they were supposed to do without the intervention of the court, the judges said.

Justice Lodha said: “We should honour the UN charter on human rights and the commitment we gave to uphold liberty under Article 21 of the constitution.”

The court said this during the hearing on a petition by the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party chief Bhim Singh seeking the release of Pakistani prisoners who have served their jail terms.

We are more concerned about the rule of law in our country. We want to know why all these persons who have completed their sentences have not be repatriated,” the court said.

Directing the government to file a compliance report on its order to release the prisoners, Justice Lodha said: Bureaucratic bottlenecks have got to be removed. Bureaucratic bottlenecks cannot be allowed to come in the way of justice and liberty of a person who has undergone a jail term.

We are concerned and pained by the way things were happening, the judges said.

Describing the entire situation as a very sorry state of affairs, Justice Gokhale observed that all things are being done in breach of protocol and guidelines” on the repatriation of foreign nationals on the completion of their sentences.

Saying that a bureaucrat could not be allowed to sit on a file, Justice Gokhale said: If we dont take it up, you dont move there. You dont permit things to move without courts intervention. The whole process should be completed at your end without the courts intervention. That should be the approach.

The court said that the officials of the home ministry and the external affairs ministry should work together.

Additional solicitor General Vivek Tankha tried to explain the policy and procedures involved in the repatriation of foreign nationals but Justice Lodha said: You are trying to justify the continued detention for years after they have undergone sentence by relying on procedures.

The court described as shocking when it noted that an accused Zafar Alam, put under preventive detention and who could have been released on personal bond with or without surety, was shown in the list of arrested people.



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3 Comments on "Deport Pakistanis who have completed jail terms: Supreme Court"

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Muhammad Khalid Butt
4 years 6 months ago

It is not understood as to why Sikandar-e-Azam Sani so Muhammad Khalid Butt who has completed even his 6-month additional R.I. on 20th January, 2012 is not being released despite verification of his national status being a Pakistani national and payment of his court fine on 30th December, 2011 by Prof. Bhim Singh with the Superintendent C.J. Kot Bhalwal, Jammu.

Muhammad Khalid Butt
4 years 8 months ago
Honorable Prof.Bhim Singh has pointed out before the apex Supreme Court of India on 24th January, 2012 that Mr. Sikandar-e-Azam Sani s/o Muhammad Khalid Butt confined in the central jail, Kot Bhalwal, Jammu has completed his 6-month additional rigorous imprisonment on 20th January, 2012. Furthermore, the court fine amounting to Rs.3000/ was also deposited with the Superintendent, C.J. Kot Bhalwal, Jammu on 30th December, 2011. He is not under trial. His nationality status being a Pakistani national by birth has already been confirmed by the government of Pakistan and communicated to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi accordingly. I… Read more »
Muhammad Khalid Butt
4 years 8 months ago
Honorable judges (Mr. Justice R.M.Lodha & Mr. Justice H.L.Gokhale) of the apex Supreme Court of India have rightly observed the entire situation and passed the lawful & legal orders which are fully covered under the UN Charter as well as under the Article-21 of the Indian Constitution. In this connection, I would like to draw kind attention of the honorable judges to the case of Mr. Sikandar-e-Azam Sani s/o Muhammad Khalid Butt who has completed even his 6-month additional rigorous imprisonment on 20th January, 2012 but he is still detained in the central jail, Kot Bhalwal, Jammu. His court fine… Read more »