The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition for a direction to take immediate steps for the release of Sarabjit Singh, who has been languishing in a Pakistan jail for the last 21 years.

A Bench comprising Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and S.S. Nijjar issued the notice after hearing counsel Arvind Kumar Sharma, appearing for the petitioner, Dalbir Kaur, Sarabjit's sister.

Ms. Dalbir Kaur said Sarabjit was arrested on August 28, 1990, and wrongly convicted and sentenced to death by the Pakistani authorities in a case of mistaken identity. However, the Pakistani President had stayed the execution of the death sentence on April 1, 2008.

She said that thereafter, India ought to have taken steps for Sarabjit's release after it found that its citizen had been wrongly convicted. But the Centre had failed to take any step for his repatriation, and hence the present petition.

Ms. Dalbir Kaur said the Pakistani authorities had registered a case in the name of Manjeet Singh alias Sarabjit Singh, son of Mohanga Singh. Though Manjeet Singh's father's name was Sulakhan Singh, it was wrongly mentioned and Sarabjit was made an accused, even though he had no links to any case.

Sarabjit's sister said she and her daughters had approached various authorities, including the Prime Minister of Pakistan, the Chief Minister of Lahore and the Human Rights Commission, but nothing had been done so far. She sought a direction to the Centre to take necessary steps for the repatriation of Sarabjit through diplomatic channels.

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