The Delhi high court on Tuesday directed the trial court to find out the age of a Pakistani national serving life term under the now-lapsed TADA for planning terrorist acts and possessing firearms after he claimed that he was a minor at the time of arrest in 1994.
Justice Mukta Gupta asked the trial court to conduct an inquiry to ascertain the age of convict Khalid Mehmood through a medical board and file an ossification test report by May 30, the next date of hearing.
The trial court had convicted him under the provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act (TADA) in 1996.
Citing that an emergency passport issued by Pakistani authorities on his request in 2010, Mehmood, a resident of Lahore, claimed that he was aged below 18 years when the police arrested him and contended that he should be released from jail.
His counsel Vivek Sood submitted that his client should get the relief under the Juvenile Justice Act.
"The petitioner has undergone actual imprisonment for nearly 20 years and so he deserves to be sympathetically considered for release from jail under the sentencing guidelines... passed by the Lt Governor of Delhi," he said.
According to the guidelines, certain convicts are eligible to be considered for premature release after having served a sentence of 14 years, the lawyer said, adding the Pakistani national was convicted for planning the terror act but in fact he did not take part in any such incident.
His counsel claimed that Mehmood was studying in Class XI at the time of arrest on February 17, 1994, from Gokalpuri here.