Court raps lawyer, such pleas deserve ‘condemnation’, have to be ‘strongly discouraged’.
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking a detailed probe into alleged “lapses” of the Centre in saving 39 Indians, who were killed by ISIS in Iraq in 2014, saying such pleas deserve “condemnation” and have to be “strongly discouraged”.
A bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar said the petition, by a lawyer, ignores the welfare, interest and sensitivities of the families of the victims as well as the need to ensure healthy international relations and diplomatic ties.
The court said the submissions made in the PIL by the lawyer, Mehmood Pracha, reflected “extreme insensitivity” to the tragedy that befell the 39 Indians and the devastation their family members would have undergone.
It further noted that the petition did not even refer to the elaborate steps, like getting DNA samples from the victims’ relatives and carrying out DNA profiling and matching, taken by the Indian and Iraqi authorities to establish the identities of the individual bodies. “Thereby the petitioner is guilty of concealment of material facts,” the bench said and added “this writ petition in our view also is not guided by any motive of public interest.”
“The writ petition which ignores the welfare, interest and sensitivities of dependants and relatives of Indian citizens who were killed after being taken into custody by a militant organisation and the public interest in ensuring healthy international relations and diplomatic ties deserves condemnation in the strongest terms. Such attempts also have to be strongly discouraged.
“For all of these reasons, the writ petition is dismissed with costs which are quantified at Rs 1,00,000. Costs shall be deposited with the Delhi High Court Advocates Welfare Trust within four weeks from today,” the court said in its 31-page decision.
Pracha, in his plea, had contended that the Centre was aware long back that the Indians had been killed by the terror outfit after their abduction from Mosul, but had chosen not to disclose it and kept taking the stand that they were alive.
He had claimed that there were glaring anomalies in the statement made by the external affairs minister on the floor of Parliament.
He had sought an investigation into the deaths as he wanted to know when and how the Indians were killed.
Rejecting the arguments made by him, the bench said that he “has carried his submission to ridiculous lengths” by contending that the burden to prove the workers dead would fall on the external affairs minister which has not been discharged.
The court said that the petitioner’s attempts to “denigrate” the Indian effort “deserves to be staunchly deprecated”.
The court also rejected his plea for public disclosure of more information regarding efforts made by the Indian government.