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Arrested in Mauritius, Indian man moves Bombay high court over 'extra' time behind bars

(Representative photo)
Date : 12/11/2014

An Indian national, who was arrested in 1998, convicted two years later by the Mauritius Supreme Court for possessing heroin and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, moved the Bombay High Court pleading that he was repatriated to India in 2008 and the maximum punishment as per Indian laws is only 10 years.

He has spent nearly 16 years behind bars.

The man was initially sentenced to 30 years, but after a revision in the Criminal Procedure Code in 2007, his jail term was reduced to 23 years in India after the Home Ministry received the order in 2010. His mother, the petitioner, contended that the treaty between India and Mauritius provides that the government of the country to which the prisoner is repatriated shall adopt the sentence as per domestic laws.

Her son was 23 when he was arrested in Mauritius on May 27, 1998, at Sir Seewosagar Ramgoolam International Airport. The petition claims that his “acquaintance had asked him to carry currency” for someone else.

He was stopped by immigration authorities in Mauritius, who found heroin in his pocket, However, the mother claimed her son was allegedly found with 136 gm of effective drug quantity, which is not a “commericial” quantity. Thus, the maximum sentence for him should have been 10 years, the mother has said.

“He has, however, served more jail term than could have been awarded to him under Section 21 (b) (small quantity) of the NDPS Act, and has completed 15 years from May 27, 1998, the date of his arrest,” the petition said.

The March 6, 2014, order of the Home Ministry has “miscalculated the term of imprisonment” under the Section of “commercial quantity” which awarded him 20 years’ imprisonment. The mother also said effective imprisonment has been calculated from April 14, 2000 — the date of conviction. “It should have been calculated from May 17, 1998, which is the actual date of detention.”

She has sought directions for her son’s release. The Centre has been asked to file its reply within two weeks.

For further Information Contact:
Kranti L.C.

Read a press clipping on the case here.

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