The Centre on Tuesday said Pakistan had refused to acknowledge that 54 Indian prisoners of war (PoWs) of 1965 and 1971 were languishing in its jail and that their exact status till date is not known.
The Centre also said India cannot raise the issue before the International Court of Justice even as the court wondered what prevented the government from doing so.
A bench headed by Justice TS Thakur pointed out that since India’s river water disputes relating to Indus and Kishanganga are being agitated before the international forum, there was no reason why the PoWs issue could not be raised. But solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said it could not do so because both the countries were part of the Commonwealth comity.
The move came after the Gujarat high court ordered the government to do so on a petition filed by a retired army officer seeking relief for the families of PoWs.
The SC bench appeared miffed that the government had to be nudged for it. “These people are languishing in Pakistan jail for our sake. And you did not consider fit to support their families. You (government) need a court order for this,” the bench asked the SG as it fixed September 8 to hear the matter further.