Can convict of one state be jailed in another: HC to Delhi govt

The Delhi HC was hearing of a plea of Jagtar Singh Hawara. PTI file photo

Can a man convicted in one state be lodged in prison in another state where there is no case against him and is such imprisonment legal?

These were the posers put to the Delhi government by the Delhi High Court on Tuesday during the hearing of a plea of Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted for conspiring to assassinate former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh, claiming that his incarceration in Tihar Jail was illegal as he has not been convicted of any crime in the national capital.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and P S Teji issued a notice to the Delhi government and asked them to indicate in their response why he has not been shifted to a prison in Punjab.

The bench, however, dismissed as "completely misconceived" an application moved by Hawara, through advocate Mehmood Pracha, seeking his release from Tihar Jail.

Pracha, appearing for Hawara, claimed that his client was in illegal detention at Tihar Jail, where he has been lodged since May 2016.

The contention was rejected by the court which said the detention was "not illegal".

The Delhi government, represented by standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra, told the court that Hawara was not shifted to Punjab as there were intelligence inputs that attempts would be made to free him during the transit.

Initially, Hawara was lodged in Tihar Jail, while a case against him was pending trial in Delhi. However, by the time he was acquitted in the case here, he was convicted in the Beant Singh assassination case leading him to remain jailed here, Mehra said and added that in view of this factual position, his detention here was not illegal.

The bench listed the matter for hearing on May 28.

Besides seeking his release from Tihar Jail, the habeas corpus plea moved on behalf of Hawara seeks that he should be produced before the court. It also claimed that the trial in the cases against him in Punjab were stalled due to his imprisonment here.

The claim has been refuted by the Delhi government which has said that trial in those cases were proceeding via video conferencing.

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