New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government to explain as to why no steps were taken to prevent assault on Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Haq inside a Jammu jail. The court, however, did not allow the plea that Sanaullah be repatriated to Pakistan as he has not completed the jail term awarded to him.
"The respondents (the Centre and J&K government) shall explain as to why adequate steps were not taken in advance to avoid the physical assault on May 3 on prisoner Sanaullah... lodged in Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu," a bench headed by Justice RM Lodha said, while issuing notices to the central and the state governments.
The court also sought details about the action taken against erring jail officials, besides asking the Centre and the state government to ensure that such incidents do not recur. During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justice Kurian Joseph, expressed its anguish over the incident inside the Jammu jail, saying, "This is a very serious matter".
The court, however, did not allow the plea that Sanaullah, who is presently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chandigarh, be sent back to Pakistan on the ground that he has not served the complete life term awarded to him. "On Sanaullah, we have already said that he is a life convict and the question of his repatriation does not arise."
On the issue of according the benefit of remission of sentence to Sanaullah, the bench said once a decision (by the authorities) is taken, then "we may undertake the exercise of judicial review". The court was hearing a petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh seeking repatriation of foreign and Pakistani prisoners, including Sanaullah, and those who have already spent over 15 years in detention in India.