Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is considered part of India and people living in that territory are considered Indian nationals,the state government on Monday told the Bombay High Court.
The statement was made in the context of a man from PoK who claimed that he accidentally crossed over into India in 1996 when he was 10 years old.
Putting forth the states arguments before the court,Advocate General Darius Khambata stated that as per the Indian Constitution,the entire state of Kashmir,including PoK is a part of India.
A Division Bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and A R Joshi,however,questioned why the police had registered cases against the man under the Passports Act and Foreigners Act,given the stand of the state government. First you register a case against him and then you say that he is an Indian, Justice Khanwilkar said.
The petitioner,Siraj Murad Khan,has approached the court seeking a directive to the authorities to send him back to PoK. He claimed that he ran away from his home and headed for his maternal uncles house in Karachi. However,he instead went to Lahore,from where he claims to have accidentally crossed the border.
According to the petitioner,he then stayed at Varanasi for two days,after which he came to Mumbai.
Siraj also married an Indian woman,with whom he has three children. He had approached the court seeking permission to go back to PoK.
In the previous hearing on July 31,the court had come down heavily on the state government for allowing the man to stay in India for over 15 years.
The judges said the case has ramifications of national security and observed that the state seemed to have given the man a licence to stay in India by not taking action against him.
The court has now asked the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to state if it concurs with the state governments stand on the case. The matter will be heard after a week.
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