The Punjab and Haryana high court has told the Centre to submit a fresh report on foreign nationals, many of them from Pakistan, languishing in Punjab jails even after completion of their sentence.
The direction was issued by the high court (HC) bench of justices SS Saron and Darshan Singh during the resumed hearing of a suo motu petition in which the HC had asked the state to consider cases of life convicts for premature release in the light of Supreme Court guidelines laid down in July 2015 on the issue.
Appearing for the Centre, additional solicitor general Satya Pal Jain had apprised the court that as per a report compiled in October 2016, there are 38 foreign inmates in Punjab jails. He said that the nationality of 16 inmates, reportedly from Pakistan, is unconfirmed and repatriation of three Pakistani nationals is under process, two have died and four have been repatriated.
As for other nationalities, there is one inmate from Myanmar besides two from Nepal, two from Bangladesh, one from Kenya and one from Sri Lanka whose nationalities are not confirmed. Six inmates of Bangladesh have been repatriated, Jain informed the court.
Punjab additional advocate general PPS Thethi told the court that Punjab will verify from the Amritsar jail authorities whether other particulars of the inmates can be gathered, especially for confirming their nationalities.
The Centre’s response was sought after Punjab told the court that nearly 38 foreign nationals who have completed their sentences were either in jails or in transit camps as they could not be released without prior permission from the central government. The fresh report has been sought by April 6.