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Calcutta High Court has ordered freedom of a Pakistani national after serving his entire term

Last Updated on March 9, 2024 by News Desk


Concerning the preservation of foreign nationals’ human rights and dignity, the Calcutta High Court struggles with the legal situation of a Pakistani person who is incarcerated after his sentence has been served since his home country will not recognize him.

Facts of the Case:

The Pakistani citizen, 47, was found guilty of overstaying his visa and sentenced to three years in prison after entering India lawfully in 2001 and marrying an Indian lady. He was imprisoned in a West Bengal prison cell even after serving his entire time in 2022 since Pakistan refused to acknowledge his status as a citizen. Because he lacks citizenship and Pakistan has refused to accept him, the Central government claimed that he should remain in custody until his deportation.

Arguments Presented by Parties:

Representing himself via legal counsel, the petitioner begged to be released so that he could be with his family, stressing his right to freedom and dignity after completing his sentence. The Central government argued that his release would mean impunity, highlighting his lack of citizenship and Pakistan’s unwillingness to acknowledge him. The Court interjected, criticizing the government’s callousness and emphasizing the petitioner’s claim to fundamental rights irrespective of nationality.

Judgment Delivered by Court:

Declaring the petitioner free, one-judge Justice Sabyasachi Bhattacharyya emphasized the equality and individual freedoms guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Asserting that extended incarceration violated basic rights, the Court dismissed the government’s case for ongoing imprisonment. The judge explicitly condemned the absence of legislative measures addressing the predicament of foreign nationals who have been rejected by their home nations. In order to ensure that the petitioner complied with local authorities, the Court placed limitations on his release.

In conclusion, the ruling by the Calcutta High Court establishes a precedent for the fair treatment of foreign people under Indian law, representing a victory for human rights and dignity. 

Written by: Nikita Shankar @nikitaashankar

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