HC rejects PIL for release of Indians from Pakistan jails

Delhi HC has dismissed a PIL seeking direction to Centre to take steps for setting free more than 50 Indians lodged in Pakistan jails.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the Centre to take steps for setting free more than 50 Indians lodged in Pakistan jails, saying "the government of India continues its effort to release them".

Dismissing two PILs filed by Madangopal Khushiram Paul, an advocate and human rights activist, seeking the release of Indian prisoners and also compensation for them, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw accepted the Centre`s submission that all possible steps in this regard have been taken with Islamabad at all levels.

"...We therefore do not find any merit in these petitions. The same are dismissed. We, however, implore the government of India to continue its efforts for release of these persons," the bench said while accepting the argument that the government has implemented the NHRC`s directions passed in 2007.

The court also dismissed the petitioner`s plea for compensation to the prisoners who have been released from Pakistan jail but not financially compensated by the Indian government.

The court further accepted the Centre`s argument that
none of the prisoners was either a soldier or government of India employee, and it was not binding on the Centre to pay compensation.

"The respondents (Centre) in the instant cases deny that any of the persons for whose benefit the writ petitions have been filed, were soldiers or otherwise employed by the Indian government. If they were arrested and imprisoned by Pakistani authorities owing to having intentionally or mistakenly crossed over the border..., the government of India cannot be directed to pay any compensation to them...," the court said.