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'Why waste money on ill foreign prisoners?'

March 24, 2005 18:25 IST

The Delhi high court on Thursday sought to know why the government should not release terminally ill foreigners languishing in Indian jails instead of spending huge public money on their treatment.

Justice B D Ahmed posed the question to Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra while hearing a bail plea of an acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome-infected Swiss woman lodged in the Tihar jail in New Delhi in a drugs smuggling case.

The woman stated she wanted to return to her country for treatment.

The ASG sought time to inform the court if there was any policy on terminally ill foreign prisoners with cases pending against them.

The case will now be taken up for hearing on April 8.

Earlier, the court had issued notice to the air customs officer of the Indira Gandhi International Airport and sought to know the government's policy in such cases. But the customs department did not place on record any such policy.

The court also directed that the 38-year-old woman be given proper medical treatment.

Her counsel Rakesh Tiku had sought her release on interim bail to enable her to 'get medical treatment of the appropriate standard in a private hospital in Delhi before she is in a physical and medical condition to leave the country for taking treatment in Switzerland'.

Tiku said there was no point in keeping such under-trials in Indian jails and spending public money on them.

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