SC seeks list of Indian soldiers languishing in Pakistan jails


The Supreme Court on Friday sought information on Indian soldiers who are allegedly languishing in Pakistani jails, while issuing notices to the defence and foreign ministries on a petition filed by the mother of a missing army officer.

The petitioner has claimed that her son, Captain Sanjit Bhattacharjee, has been languishing for over 23 years in a Pakistani jail. The officer had gone missing while patrolling the border with Pakistan on the night of April 19, 1997, along with another platoon member. They were reported missing under suspicious circumstances.

The issue came up on Friday before a bench led by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde.

The CJI, while issuing notices to the ministries of defence and external affairs seeking their response to the petition, also sought a list of other such similarly placed officers from advocate Saurabh Mishra, who was representing the 81-year-old mother of the officer.

Kamla Bhattacharjee said in her petition that the family was informed that the officer had been apprehended by Pakistani authorities while carrying out a reconnaissance operation along the international border in Rajasthan.

The family was later informed that he was picked up by the Pakistani Rangers and handed over to the Pakistani Army. In April 2004, she was informed by the Ministry of Defence that he was presumed dead. She was later informed that his name had been added to an existing list of missing prisoners of war, a list of 54 such personnel.

The issue was taken up with the Pakistani authorities at the highest level, but officials of Pakistan said that he could not be traced, as per the petition.

Her husband died on November 28, 2020, awaiting justice for his son, Bhattacharjee said. Her petition has been filed on behalf of her son, invoking the fundamental rights to life, liberty and freedom of speech and expression.

Bhattacharjee said she had made numerous representations before various authorities but to no avail.





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