New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday frowned on the failure of the Jammu and Kashmir government to anticipate the possibility of Pakistani prisoner Sanaullah being attacked in jail in the wake of the death of Sarabjit Singh after being assaulted in a Lahore jail.
“You must have visualized that if something has happened in Pakistan, you should have taken precautions. You cannot allow rule of law to be compromised. Such incidents compromise rule of law,” a bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Kurien Joseph said.
The court expressed its anguish when approached by PIL petitioner Bhim Singh, seeking direction to the government to repatriate Sanaullah Ranjay to Pakistan. Sanaullah was critically injured by fellow inmates on May 3. The incident occurred even as relatives of Sarabjit Singh were getting his funeral pyre ready in Punjab.
Sarabjit Singh, a death row prisoner, had been fatally attacked in a Lahore jail April 26. Observing that the life of jailed inmates could not be endangered or jeopardized, Justice Lodha said “You should have known that Pakistani prisoners are lodged in your jail and something can happen.”
“Merely because a person is lodged in jail, his right to life under Article 21 does not go,” Justice Lodha said, adding that the state should have visualized such a situation and put in place all the steps so such a thing would not happen.
Having pulled up the J&K government, the court asked it to file an affidavit on the attack on Sanaullah, what action has been taken against errant jail officials and steps taken to ensure that such incidents are repeated in future.
The court’s indictment of the J&K government came in the course of the hearing of a PIL by J&K Panthers Party’s chairman Bhim Singh seeking the release and repatriation of Pakistani and other foreign prisoners who are languishing in Indian jail long after they have completed their sentences.