SC questions continuous detention of deaf, dumb Pak prisoners
Why weren’t cases discussed at Manmohan-Zardari meet?
New Delhi, Apr 10: The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the condition of 16 mentally challenged prisoners, who are believed to be Pakistanis, languishing in Indian jails even after having served their sentences.
A Division Bench of the Apex Court comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice H L Gokhale directed the Centre to take urgent steps for the repatriation of the prisoners who are not wanted any more in any case in the country. They observed that such cases related to human rights should have been taken by the two governments at an earliest.
The Court questioned as to why their cases had not been discussed by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his luncheon meeting with visiting Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari here on Sunday. "For how many years can they be in jail? The problem is they are not being sent back to Pakistan," the judges said.
Zardari was on what was described as a private visit to India to visit the Ajmer shrine. He had a one-on-one meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh followed by a lunch which was attended by Rahul Gandhi and several senior ministers.
The Supreme Court, expressing serious concern, directed the Union of India to take up the matter for the repatriation of all mentally challenged as well as those prisoners who are deaf and dumb.
On its part, the government told the court that it is discussing the cases with the Pakistani High Commissioner. The case will next be heard on May 2.
The Apex Court observation came on a petition filed by Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh asking for the prisoners to be allowed to return to Pakistan. But in some cases, their nationality has not yet been accepted or identified by Pakistani officials.
In his submission Bhim Singh suggested that the pictures of the deaf and dumb persons should be sent to the Pakistani media so that members of their families may come forward to identify them. The Court appreciated the suggestion and adjourned the matter for two weeks on the request of P.P. Malhotra, Additional Attorney General of India.
Bhim Singh also submitted the original record pertaining to the arrest and conviction of Sikander-e-Azam and Salim Junaid who have served their sentences and their continued imprisonment ‘amounted to wrongful confinement.’ He said that Sikander-e-Azam was arrested in 2008 and sentenced for three years imprisonment which he completed in 2011.
Bhim Singh was assisted by B.S. Billowria, Preeti Sirohi, Vijay Pratap Singh and Satish Vig, Advocates.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 Apr 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 10 Apr 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 11 Apr 2012 00:00:00 IST
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