Emphasising on the strong rule of law in this country,the Supreme Court on Wednesday censured the Jammu and Kashmir government for lack of security to Pakistani prisoners in the aftermath of the death of Indian prisoner Sarabjit Singh in Pakistan.
Concerned over attack on Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay in a Jammu jail,a Bench led by Justice R M Lodha sought an explanation from the state government and also the Centre why adequate steps were not taken to prevent such assaults.
We are more concerned why such incidents are happening in jails. Lives of inmates are put in danger and it is unacceptable. It is a very serious matter and the jail administration must ensure that lives of the inmates are safe, said the Bench.
While hearing a petition seeking repatriation of Sanaullah,the Bench took the state government to task saying that lame excuses could not justify the attack on a prisoner,who may or may not be repatriated immediately.
In your (J&K) jails,there are many Pakistani prisoners. Why adequate precaution was not taken? You could have reasonably anticipated that after something happened in Pakistan (fatal attack on Sarabjit),some retaliatory actions could happen in your jail too. You had to be careful and cautious, remarked the Bench.
Asserting that life of an inmate cannot be put in jeopardy,the Bench said the passions might flow after some incidents but it was for the state,as a law enforcing agency,to visualise possibility of such occurrences and ensure their prevention.
It,however,turned down a request by petitioner Bhim Singh for repatriating Sanaullah to Pakistan since he had served more than 18 years in jail and completed his sentence in most of the cases.
The Bench noted that Sanaullah had been sentenced to life term in a case. It said that the question of his repatriation could not arise. It suggested Singh to approach the appropriate authorities if he sought remission of his sentence but maintained that the assault on him cannot be condoned.