Sindh govt ordered to pay prisoner Rs150,000
KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has directed the provincial government to pay a prisoner Rs150,000 as compensation for keeping him behind bars for 30days after the expiry of his jail term. Issuing the order on Wednesday, the SHC ordered the compensation amount to be calculated at the rate of Rs5,000 for every day of illegal confinement. The money is to be deposited with the SHC by February 6 when the prisoner’s case — initiated by the court in a suo motu notice — would again come up for hearing.
The government has the right to initiate an inquiry and deduct the amount from the salary/salaries of officials found responsible for unauthorised imprisonment. Subsequently, disciplinary action may also be taken against the delinquent officials, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Sabihuddin Ahmed and Justice Faisal Arab observed.
Abdul Hakeem was convicted by a judicial magistrate of District South, Karachi, under Section 13-D of the Explosive Substances Act. He was sentenced to one year imprisonment, which he had already served as an under-trial prisoner, against the maximum punishment of three years’ jail. His trial was delayed by his non-production on several consecutive dates. By a previous order, the court has already declared that imprisonment will be treated as illegal if an under-trial prisoner is not produced before the trial court on the day fixed for hearing of his case.
The suo motu notice was taken on a report submitted by district and sessions judge Zafar Ahmed Sherwani after inspection of the Central Prison, Karachi, and other jails. The proceedings revealed that a number of prisoners were being held despite expiry of their jail terms and were produced before trial courts at will. Irregularities in the grant of remissions under the criminal procedure code also came to light.
Meanwhile, lawyer Mohammad Ishaq Lashari claiming to be the provincial prosecutor-general appeared before the bench and said a prosecution service ordinance promulgated earlier and pending adoption by the provincial assembly authorised him to appear in any proceedings relating to prosecution, including those being conducted by superior courts. He placed a copy of the ordinance before the bench, which found certain discrepancies in the text. Notices were issued to the provincial law and home secretaries to explain the provisions of the ordinance on February 6.
Deputy Attorney-General Akhter Ali Mahmud made submissions on the validity of Rule 235 of the Prisoners’ Rules framed under the Prisons Act. The rule empowers the jail superintendent to confine an under-trial prisoner in a separate cell in the interest of prison discipline or under an order of the inspector-general of prisons or of the government. The bench wants to know whether the rule is in accordance with Section 28 of the Prisons Act. Since the practice of segregating under-trial prisoners in certain cases is common to all four provinces, the bench issued a notice to the federal attorney. He will continue his submissions on the next date.
Additional Advocate-General Abbas Ali represented the provincial government and Advocate M. Ilyas Khan assisted the court on behalf of the prisoners. PAPPU’S DETENTION: Another division bench comprising Justices Mushir Alam and Mrs Yasmeen Abbasy issued notices to the advocate-general, the home department and the Central Prison superintendent for January 23 in a petition moved by the wife of Arshad Pappu, accused in a number of criminal cases registered by police. The petitioner submitted through Advocates M. Ilyas Khan and Mohammad Farooq that Pappu was remanded by a judicial magistrate on October 21, 2006, and has remained in jail since. He has not been produced before any court for trial or before a magistrate after expiry of remand.