After Yasin Malik appears in SC, Delhi Prisons Department says ‘prima facie lapse’, orders probe
STATE TIMES NEWS
New Delhi: Drawing flak over the appearance of jailed JKLF chief Yasin Malik in the Supreme Court, the Delhi Prisons Department on Friday said there was “prima facie lapse” on the part of some officials and ordered an inquiry.
Deputy Inspector General (Prisons-Headquarters) Rajiv Singh will conduct the inquiry to find out the lapse and fix the responsibility of erring officials and submit a report to the Director General (Prisons) within three days, according to an official statement.
The presence of Malik, serving life term in Tihar jail, in a packed courtroom created a flutter in the Supreme Court on Friday.
Malik, who is in jail following his conviction and life sentence in a terror funding case, was brought to the high-security apex court premises in a prison van escorted by armed security personnel without the court’s permission.
He walked into the courtroom to the utter surprise of all present.
Voicing surprise at his presence, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta that there was a procedure for high-risk convicts to be allowed into the courtroom to argue their case personally.
When Mehta pointed at Malik’s presence in the courtroom, the bench said it had not granted him permission or passed any order allowing him to argue his case in person.
Mehta also wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla over the “serious security lapse”.
“It is my firm view that this is serious security lapse. A person with terrorist and secessionist background like Yasin Malik who is not only a convict in terror funding case but has known connections with terror organisations in Pakistan could have escaped, could have been forcibly taken away or could have been killed,” Mehta wrote.
Mehta highlighted that there is an order passed by the Ministry of Home Affairs with regard to Malik under Section 268 of the Criminal Code of Procedure which prevents the jail authorities to bring the said convict out of the jail premises for security reasons.
“In any view of the matter so long as the order under section 268 of CrP Code subsists, jail authorities had no power to bring him out of jail premises nor did they have any reason to do so,” he said, adding, “I consider this to be a matter serious enough to once again bring it to your personal notice so that suitable action/steps can be taken at your end.”
In his letter, Solicitor General Mehta gave details of the incident and said that on Friday everyone was shocked when news was received that the jail authorities are bringing Malik personally to appear before the apex court “as per his desire to appear as party in person”. “I had telephonically intimated you about this fact. However, by that time Yasin Malik had already reached the precincts of the Supreme Court of India,” he said. The top law officer said that neither the court had summoned his personal presence nor was any permission taken from any authority of the apex court in this regard. “When I enquired from the officer who was in-charge of the security of Yasin Malik in the Supreme Court, the only thing he could show me was a printed notice in a general format of the Supreme Court which is sent with regard to every party to any matter in the court. The said printed notice informs the recipients of the notice to appear before the court either in person or through an authorised advocate. “This is not either the permission of the Supreme Court to bring a convict facing an order under section 268 of CrPC to come out of jail nor it is requiring mandatory personal presence of the recipient of the order,” he wrote. Mehta said the jail authorities must be receiving hundreds of such orders/notices daily and have never construed any such order requiring personal presence of either any accused or any convict much less a convict having an order under section 268 of CrPC operating against him. Malik appeared in the top court when a bench headed by Justice Surya Kant was hearing an appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the September 20, 2022 order of a trial court in Jammu in the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, the daughter of then Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. In a statement, the Delhi Prisons Department said, “On Friday, Yasin Malik was produced physically in the Supreme Court by the officials of Central Jail number 7. Prima facie, the lapse was observed on the part of concerned jail officials. “The Director General (Prisons) has ordered a detailed inquiry in the matter to be conducted by Deputy Inspector General (Headquarters) (Prisons) Rajiv Singh to find out the lapse and fix the responsibility of erring officials. The report will be submitted within three days to DG Prisons,” it added.