India will soon sign a pact with Somalia for exchange of sentenced prisoners as the Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its nod for it. A meeting of the cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval for signing and subsequent ratification of the agreement on transfer of sentenced persons between India and Somalia. Signing the agreement with Somalia will facilitate the Indian inmates imprisoned in Somalia or vice-versa to be near to their families, for serving remaining part of their sentence and shall facilitate their social rehabilitation, an official statement said.
India has signed bilateral agreements on transfer of sentenced persons with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, France, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Bangladesh, Brazil, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, UAE, Italy, Turkey, Maldives, Thailand, Russian Federation, Kuwait, Vietnam, Australia, Hong Kong, Qatar, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Bahrain and Estonia.
Prior to 2004, there was no domestic legislation under which foreign prisoners could be transferred to the country of their origin to serve the remaining part of their sentence, nor was there a provision for the transfer of prisoners of Indian origin convicted by a foreign court to serve their sentence in India. The transfer of such prisoners to their own native countries shall facilitate their social rehabilitation.
Hence the Repatriation of Prisoners Act, 2003 was enacted for achieving the above purpose. For achieving the objectives of the Act, a treaty/agreement is required to be signed with countries having mutual interest with India on this matter.