Supreme Court directive to Centre on habeas corpus plea

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to pursue the case of Fasih Mahmood, an engineer from Bihar, with the Government of Saudi Arabia and, depending upon its decision, take necessary steps for his deportation to India.

Mr. Mahmood, employed as engineer in Saudi Arabia, was allegedly picked up by intelligence agencies from Al Jubal on May 13. He hails from Barh Saaila village in Darbhanga district of Bihar. His wife filed a habeas corpus petition seeking the release of her husband. In its response, the Centre told a Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and Ranjan Gogoi that the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, took up the matter with the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, on the basis of non-bailable warrants issued against Mr. Mahmood by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Bangalore, Karnataka as also by the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Tis Hazari Court, New Delhi, a Red Corner Notice was issued by the CBI on May 30. On June 26 the agency received a message that he had been detained in Saudi Arabia.

Disposing of the habeas corpus petition, the Bench said: “It is now clear that the petitioner’s husband, Mr. Mahmood, has been traced. He is being detained by the authorities of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is clear that he is detained by a foreign government in a foreign territory and as such, no relief can be granted in the present writ petition.

“In view of the information, particularly the fact that Mr. Mahmood has been traced and detained in Saudi Arabia and taking note of the relief prayed in the writ petition, we are of the view that no further adjudication is required. However, we hope and trust that the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs and the Home Ministry will pursue the matter … and depending upon the decision by the Government of Saudi Arabia, … further steps may be taken for deportation of the detenu in accordance with bilateral agreement, if any.”

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