New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked
the Centre to take steps for securing the release of Indian
prisoners languishing in Pakistani jails despite completing
their prison sentences.
A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur
wondered why government was not pursuing the matter with the
Pakistani authorities when India has been releasing prisoners
of that country.
"We have been releasing several of their prisoners. Why
can`t you take steps to ensure that Indian prisoners are
also released? The Bench told Solicitor General Gopal
The Solicitor General said the Centre had initated the
process and "had gained consular access" for the purpose. He
offered to come out with a proper response by Friday.
The apex court passed the order on a petition filed by
counsel Arvind Sharma seeking directions to the Centre to
secure the release of an Indian prisoner Gopal Dass reportedly
languishing a Pakistani jail for the past 26 years.
The petitioner complained that the Centre was not taking
any step to bring him back despite Pakistan government`s
decision to release him.
The counsel submitted that Dass, a resident of Punjab`s
Gurdasput district, was arrested in Pakistan in 1984 on the
false charge of espionage and was sentenced to 14 years
imprisonment by a court there.
He claimed Dass was just 22 years when he had
inadvertently strayed into Pakistani territory leading to his
arrest on the false charge of espionage.