Ahmedabad: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has agreed to pay full salary and retirement benefits to the kin of 54 prisoners of war (POWs) of 1971 Indo-Pak war, who are reportedly still in the Pakistani jails.
The ministry made the statement in its affidavit filed in the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday.
On December 23, the HC had directed the central ministry to approach the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for release of the POWs, and pay compensation to their kin.
However, the Centre did not act for nearly four months and on April 19 the court ordered the MoD to comply with its orders in 15 days. Otherwise, Defence Secretary would have to remain present, the judges said.
Before the deadline set by the court, the MOD filed an affidavit today.
It said it would pay compensation to the kin, but it was going to challenge the direction about moving the ICJ.
Division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and J B Pardiwala posted the next hearing on June 14.
Advocate K M Paul, petitioner`s lawyer, said that the court made it clear that if orders were not complied with by June 14, the Secretary would have to be in the court.
The relatives of POWs have filed a petition, seeking compliance of Court`s earlier orders, which had come upon the petition filed by the late Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Arora, the Bangladesh war hero, in 1999.
Arora had sought that Centre should secure release of 54 POWs of 1971 war. The fact that these men were still in Pak jails came to light in 1999.
Two of these men are from Gujarat: Kalyan Rathod from Sabarkantha and N Shanker from Vadodara.