SC seeks current status of 54 Indians Prisoners of War (PoW), languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971: expresses displeasure over delay

SC seeks current status of 54 Indians Prisoners of War (PoW), languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971: expresses displeasure over delay

The Supreme Court on 18.11.2014 asked the Centre to inform it about the current status of 54 Indians Prisoners of War (PoW), languishing in Pakistan jails since 1971, and took strong note of submission that though Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has provided the information, the Defence Ministry is yet to do the same.

“The Union of India is a sum total of all the ministries. This is your inter-ministerial problem. You cannot take a stand that your one department is not doing the needful,” a bench headed by Justice T.S. Thakur said.

The bench granted three weeks more time to the Centre for filing the present status of 54 PoWs who are in Pakistan jails for last 43 years.It also sought to know whether post-retirement benefits have been given to the next kith and kin of these PoWs and how many of them are yet to be paid.

The abovementioned order has been passed in a case that is connected with the petitions raising the issues concerning Prisoners of War (PoWs). These petitions relate to the brutality meted out to Saurav Kalia during Kargil War and beheading and mutilation of bodies of two Indian soldiers in 2013 by Pakistani Army, for direction to the union government to move the International Court of Justice.

In an earlier order (23.09.2014) the Supreme Court had passed the following directions:

In the affidavit-in-reply by the Union of India before the Gujarat High Court which was filed on 17.2.2010, it was stated that pursuant to the meetings held in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), 54 defence personnel were believed to be in Pakistani jails. The current status in respect of them is not available on record.

Having regard to this, Mr. K. Radhakrishnan prays for time for filing further affidavit indicating the current status with regard to the list that was prepared by the MEA in 1985 and the steps undertaken by the Union of India after 17.2.2010.

The Bench of the Supreme Court expressed displeasure that even though this order was passed two months ago steps had not been taken.