Calcutta High Court Orders Release of Pakistani National, Emphasizes Right to Dignity

Mainstream
09-Mar-2024
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The Calcutta High Court issued a significant order directing the release of a Pakistani national who had completed his three-year jail sentence but was still confined in a correctional cell due to Pakistan's refusal to accept him as its citizen. Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya underscored the fundamental rights of equality and life under Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution, extending these protections to foreign nationals.

The judge emphasized the petitioner's right to live a life of dignity, stating that deprivation of dignity goes against the principles of a civilized society. In oral observations, Justice Bhattacharyya drew attention to the petitioner's non-elite status, comparing the case to high-profile instances where even the rights of individuals like Ajmal Kasab were protected.

The case involved a 47-year-old Pakistani national who overstayed in India after arriving on a valid visa in 2001. Convicted for this violation in 2019, he completed his three-year sentence in 2022. However, due to the Pakistani embassy's refusal to recognize his citizenship, he remained confined in a correctional cell. The judge criticized the government's stance, suggesting that the petitioner's continued detention amounted to a denial of human rights.

Justice Bhattacharyya called for legislative intervention to address the legal gap concerning foreign nationals disowned by their home countries. He proposed enacting a law to tackle situations where individuals are neither accepted by their country of origin nor granted Indian citizenship. The Court's order for the petitioner's release came with specific conditions, including restrictions on leaving Hooghly district without permission and monthly appearances before a police officer.

Author: Anushka Taraniya

News Writer, MIT ADT University