Indian jailed in Pakistan moves to apex court

Indian jailed in Pakistan moves to apex court

Petitioner Gopal Dass, who hails from Gurdaspur district of Punjab, has sought his release from Lahore's Kot Lakhpat central jail and return to India. The apex court bench of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice T.S. Thakur initially asked the petitioner, who moved the court through his brother Anand Vir, to approach the Pakistani government.

However, the court’s directions to the solicitor general came after petitioner's counsel Arvind Sharma said that they did approach the Pakistani government but the Indian authorities refused to do anything. He told the court that the authorities refused to accept Dass as an Indian national.

Justice Thakur said that such a matter entirely rests on the state of diplomatic relations between two countries. When the petitioner insisted for an early hearing of the case, the court said: “We have heard you. We will give a date.”

In July 1984, Dass was arrested by the Pakistani Rangers when he “mistakenly” crossed over. He stood trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment June 27, 1987.

In 2005, Dass completed his sentence of life imprisonment but is still languishing in a jail in Pakistan.  The Pakistan government decided to release him August 14, 2007 but the Indian government allegedly did not take any action in the matter.
The petitioner said his release was possible only through diplomatic channels. He sought the court’s direction to the central government to take “immediate and necessary” steps for his release and repatriation from the Pakistani jail.