The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Union government to consider and decide “expeditiously” petitions filed by a Kerala-based man for the extradition of his daughter , who left India to join IS, and minor grand-daughter from detention in Afghanistan.
A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao asked the government to decide the representations made by 65-year-old V.J. Sebastian Francis within eight weeks.
The court did not otherwise make any comments on the merits of the case.
Sonia Sebastian alias Ayisha left India to join terrorist organisation IS in 2016. She has been charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency for various offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. She would face trial in India.
Mr. Francis, represented by advocate Renjith Marar, moved the Supreme Court in July 2021. He conveyed his apprehension that Sonia, at the time lodged in Kabul’s Pul-e-Charkhi prison, may be executed amidst the fight between the Taliban and government forces. He feared an imminent threat to the lives of his kin with the pulling out of the American forces. Since then, in the past months, the world has seen the Taliban return to power.
“Even if the government has changed, the relationship seems to be good from what we read in the newspapers,” Justice Rao reacted about the drastic change in circumstances from nearly six months ago when the petition was filed.
‘First convince govt’
The court said the petitioner needed to first “convince” the Indian government to process the extradition.
Mr. Marar submitted that from what the father had heard, the jail in which Sonia was lodged had been demolished and the detainees moved to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. He clarified that Sonia was still under detention.
Disposing of the petition, the court underscored that it had made no comment on the merits of the case.
In his petition, Mr. Francis stated that it was a violation of the fundamental rights that the Indian government had not initiated any steps for the repatriation/extradition of the mother and daughter.