The Bombay High Court on Wednesday imposed cost of Rs 25,000 on the Central government for not deciding on a representation made by a convict in a drug offence in Mauritius. Prem Kishor Raj,who was transferred to Mumbai from Mauritius to serve the remainder of his jail sentence,had sought reduction of imprisonment.
Raj was arrested in Mauritius in May 1996,convicted for possession of heroine and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment which was later reduced to 23 years. In 2008,Raj was repatriated to India under the Transfer of Prisoners (Republic of India) Regulations 2006,after which he moved court seeking early release under the Indian laws.
In 2011,the court had directed him to make a representation before the Union government seeking early release from prison. The government,however,is yet to take a decision on this.
On Wednesday the Central governments counsel asked the court to grant them one week stating that their officials have been busy in the rescue measures in flood-stricken Uttarakhand.
A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and S B Shukre,however,said that even if that was the case,the application could have been dealt with while in transit. The court remarked that if the file pertained to a foreign trip of the officials,it would have been dealt with in transit,so there was no reason why they could not have considered this file.
During Rajs transfer to India,he claimed,his records showed that he was convicted in 1999 instead of 1997. He has also sought release from prison under the Indian laws since the offence attracts a maximum sentence of 10 years under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The decision to commute his jail term,however,has to be taken by the Union government.