New Delhi [India], April 13 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice on a plea filed by the wife of an Indian army officer, a prisoner of war (PoW) detained by Pakistan since 1971, seeking his repatriation and effective mechanism for enforcement and protection of Prisoners of War (PoWs) right to life.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant while observing that the plea raises an important issue sought the response of the Central government and posted the matter for hearing after three weeks.
"It is an important matter. Notice issued. To be listed after 3 weeks. Liberty to serve through standing counsel," the bench stated in its order.
The plea filed by Jasbir Kaur, wife of Major Kanwaljit Singh, also prayed for a direction to the government of India to initiate proceedings against Pakistan to ensure the release of all Indian PoWs detained in Pakistan.
A PIL was also filed by Bir Bahadur Singh, a retired soldier of the Indian Army who is the Secretary-General of the Voice of Ex-Servicemen Society.
The plea said that Kaur's husband is among the 54 known PoWs detained by Pakistan since the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
The petition also sought from the International Red Cross the list of Prisoners of War who were scheduled to be repatriated by Pakistan in the years succeeding the 1971 war but ultimately were not repatriated to India.
The perpetrators of heinous crimes of illegal detention and torture have not been brought to book to date, nor has the government succeeded in releasing even one of the 54 PoWs despite the existence of a bilateral agreement between the Union of India and the government of Pakistan, the plea stated.
It added, "In the aforesaid matters respondent Union of India and specifically the Indian Army under them have not initiated any concrete steps for establishment of a mechanism for effective enforcement of provisions of the Geneva Convention despite elapsing of more than 70 years, since the same first came into force."
The petition has also sought an inquiry into the circumstances of brutal torture and killing of Captain Saurabh Kalia and 5 Sepoys of 4 JAT Regiment at the instance of the Pakistan army during the Kargil war after they were taken as Prisoners of War.
The plea also prayed for a court of inquiry proceedings into the circumstances under which the frugal patrol of Captain Saurabh Kalia and 5 Sepoys of 4 JAT Regiment were taken PoWs and murdered.
The plea also prayed for a direction to the Union of India to approach the International Court of Justice against Pakistan for the release of all the Indian PoWs held under the torturous custody of Pakistan in violation of the Geneva Convention for Treatment of Prisoners of War. (ANI)