The Supreme Court pulled up Jammu and Kashmir government for illegally detaining a Pakistani prisoner after he completed his sentence and summoned its Additional Secretary for misleading the court by giving wrong information about him in her affidavit.
A bench of Justice RM Lodha and Justice Anil R Dave directed the state government to release forthwith the Pakistani prisoner Sikander Azam and asked the officer MS Dilshad to be personaly present before it on the next date of hearing to show cause why contempt proceedings be not initiated against her.
“You (state govt) are throwing all constitutional and legal provisions in the wind. You are a guardian of all people living in your territory whether he is a citizen or not,” the bench said while pointing out that Azam continues to languish in prison even after his jail term ended 13 months back.
“We are pained by the stance adopted by Jammu and Kashmir government particularly the incorrect information given by the officer. To say the least, it is highly misleading,” the bench said while referring to government’s affidavit which says that Azam’s, a Pakistani prisoner, jail term will end in May 2013.
In this case Azam was arrested on July 19, 2008 and he was sentenced to three years of imprisonment in June 2010 which ended in July 2011. But the state government said that his jail term will end in May 2013 as it did not take into account the time he spend behind the bar during the trial.
Taking strong exception to the state government’s stand, the bench said that it is “shocking” and there is no law which said that time spent behind the bars during trial would not be taken into account.
“We do not want government to be so casual. It shocks us and anyone who reads would be shocked,” the bench said adding “Certain things are indefensible and do not play with court.”
“Time has come when we must take serious action against the officer. It is not pardonable. Only god can help people if the state behaves like this,” the bench said asking the officer to be present in the court on October 16 to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against her.