The Gujarat High Court (HC) on Thursday, hearing a habeas corpus petition moved by the Pakistan High Commission for one of its citizens who was arrested in Surat and subsequently acquitted, permitted the said citizen to be added as a party to the petition.
Arrested in December 2016 at Surat railway station by the Railway Police, and charged for possession of fake Indian currency notes amounting to Rs 50,000, then 25-year old Sajjad Burhanuddin had travelled from Karachi to Amritsar via Wagah border on a year-long travel visa. The Surat sessions court had acquitted him in August 2018 and the same was upheld by the Gujarat High Court in July 2019.
Advocate Aum Kotwal, who is representing Burhannudin at the HC, said, “Following the HC upholding the acquittal, my client has been running from pillar to post to go back. He had approached the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO), Mumbai, seeking necessary exit permissions so as to return to Pakistan via air, but he was told that he requires a no objection certificate (NOC) from the concerned police station. The same was denied. We made representations at the FRRO and the police station, but to no avail.”
A special civil application was filed by Burhanuddin in June this year at the HC, seeking its directions to the authorities to issue him the necessary NOC and to permit him to go back to Pakistan. However, the state government on July 6 informed the court that the acquittal is now being challenged before the Supreme Court.
A year after the HC upheld the acquittal, the state through its public prosecutor, on Thursday, submitted that “they are in the process of filing the special leave petition (SLP) before the SC and that all necessary documents have been sent to the concerned advocate on record on behalf of the state,” as per Kotwal. The limitation period for filing an appeal would ideally have been until October 2019, Kotwal added.
The court has now called for necessary documents submitted by the state for filing of the SLP. The court has also sought the authority letter of the Pakistan High Commissioner official, Munir Akhtar Satti, the petitioner who has filed the habeas corpus. The matter has now been adjourned for further hearing for July 21.
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