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SC seeks details on three Pak. prisoners from Centre

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI Aug. 4. The Supreme Court today directed the Centre to furnish details regarding the correspondence between the Union Government and the Pakistani authorities about three Pakistani nationals languishing in prisons in Jammu and Kashmir.

The direction was given by a Bench, comprising Justice Ruma Pal and Justice P. Venkatarama Reddi, while taking note of a letter from one of the prisoners, Noor Mohammed, about the plight of three Pakistani nationals languishing in prisons for over nine years though they had completed the sentence and that they had been detained arbitrarily for no reason.

Counsel for the Jammu and Kashmir Government had submitted to the court that the three were arrested while crossing the Line of Control during 1994-95 and were charged under various provisions of TADA and the J & K Public Safety Act. Appearing for the Union Government, the Additional Solicitor-General, Altaf Ahmed, said that India had approached the Pakistani authorities to take back their nationals who had served their sentence but the latter refused. He said the detenus were enemy aliens and they had no right to be released even after they had served their sentence.

Expressing serious concern over their plight, the Bench told Mr. Altaf: "Set them free when they have served the sentences awarded to them. Take them to the Wagah border and let them go to their country.'' However, Mr. Altaf said that releasing them at the Wagah border would not be easy.

The Bench, asking Mr. Altaf to place on record the correspondence of the Centre's effort to deport the detenus, appointed advocate, K. Parasaran and advocate Bhim Singh as amicus curiae to present the side of the Pakistani nationals and adjourned the proceedings to August 13.

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