SC notice to Centre on plea on Sarabjit Singh

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to know the Centre`s stand on a plea for direction to it to take steps for release and repatriation of Indian death row convict Sarabjit Singh languishing in a Pakistani jail.

Last Updated: May 11, 2011, 20:03 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought to
know the Centre`s stand on a plea for direction to it to take
steps for release and repatriation of Indian death row convict
Sarabjit Singh languishing in a Pakistani jail for the last 21
years for his alleged role in a terror act there.

A bench of justices B Sudershan Reddy and Surinder Singh
Nijjar issued notices to the Ministry of External Affairs and
the Union Home Secretary on a plea by Sarabjit through his
sister Dalbir Kaur.
"The union government has failed to take appropriate
steps for his release," said Kaur, adding "her letters and
representations have not even been answered by the External
Affairs Ministry and the Home Ministry despite several
attempts."

Dalbir has sought the court`s directions to the
government for immediate and necessary steps for Sarabjit`s
release from Lahore`s Kotlakhpat Central Jail.

Dalbir said "it is the duty of the government of India
to ensure and guarantee the fundamental rights of its citizens
and take appropriate measures for early release of Sarabjit
who was illegally detained by the government of Pakistan."

In her petition, Dalbir also accused the government of
doing precious little "for release of Sarabjit and other
Indian citizens, illegally detained in Pakistan, despite the
fact that most of them have completed their jail term after
conviction."

Kaur claimed "courts of Pakistan have wrongly convicted
Sarabjit and sentenced him to death due to mistaken identity."
Arrested on August 28, 1990, by Pakistan police for his
alleged involvement in a serial bomb blasts a month earlier in
Lahore and Multan that killed 14 people, Sarabjit was awarded
death by a Lahore anti-terrorism court in October 1991. The
death sentence was upheld by the Lahore High Court and later
by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2009.

Sarbajit was, however, given mercy by the then
Pakistan President.

"Sarabjit was not present at the time of the said
incident which took place on July 28, 1990 in Pakistan",
Sarabjit`s sister Dalbir said in her plea to the apex court.

She also contended that his brother was a victim of
mistaken identity.

"The case, which was registered by the Pakistani
authorities, was in the name of Manjeet Singh, alias Sarabjit
Singh, son of Mohanga Singh, though he has no link with the
said person as evident from the documents regarding the
identity of Sarabjit Singh," said Dalbir.

She pointed out that "he was tried in the name of
Manjeet Singh alias Sarabjit Singh, son of Sulakhan Singh,
which makes it clear that the petitioner was wrongly
implicated in the case while the fact was that the petitioner
had crossed the boarder of Pakistan and was arrested for
spying."

PTI