Life convict Yasin Malik comes to Supreme Court to argue his case; shocks court, Centre

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The Supreme Court and the Central government were equally surprised to spot Kashmiri separatist leader Yasin Malik, who is serving a life sentence in Tihar Jail in a terror-funding case, waiting his turn in the courtroom to argue his case in-person on Friday.

Malik was seen with a posse of the prison security staff in the courtroom of Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta.

The Bench asked what a life convict was doing appearing in-person. Both Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta and Additional Solicitor S.V. Raju criticised the jail authorities for bringing Malik, a high-security prisoner, to the top court in such a “careless and cavalier manner”.

“He could have appeared through video conferencing without compromising anything,” the Bench remarked.

Mr. Mehta noted that no one can appear in-person at the Supreme Court without the permission of the Registrar of the court. “Next time we will ensure that he is not physically present,” the law officers assured the court.

The case concerned a production warrant issued by a Jammu court against Malik in relation to the killing of four Indian Air Force (IAF) personnel and the 1989 abduction of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Justice Datta went on to recuse himself from hearing the case.

Malik was later seen walking to a waiting prison vehicle, clutching a file and ringed by gun-toting security personnel.

A lapse, says official
A jail official said Malik was produced physically in the Supreme Court in the matter, by the officials of Central Jail no. 7 (Tihar).

“Prima facie, we observed that it was lapse on the part of jail officials concerned,” the official said.

In connection with the incident, Director General (Prisons) has ordered a detailed inquiry in the matter to be conducted by Deputy Inspector General (HQ-Prisons) Rajiv Singh to fix the responsibility of erring officials, the official said.

He added that the report shall be submitted to the DG (Prisons) within three days.

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