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Consider All the Nationals Equally: Supreme Court to Central Government

On Friday, the hon’ble Supreme Court asked the Central Government the reason for not releasing a French woman who was detained in jail even though there is an undertaking from the French Embassy. The Court said that if you respect the Government of Italy, the same respect should be shown to the French Government as well. The court was dealing with the case of a French woman who is 55 years old. She was imprisoned for assassination of a senator from Chile. Earlier, the Government had given permission to two Italian marines who were accused for the offence of shooting fishermen at Kerala coast.

The Court pointed out this issue and expressed that if the Italian marines were released, it is the duty of the Government to release this old woman also. The Court also reminded the Central Government that all nations should be respected without discrimination. If the French Government itself had consented to be the surety for release of this lady with an undertaking, then what is the issue, the court asked. The Government had already granted permission for other foreigners to visit their nation on such an undertaking, the Court said.

The Central Government represented by P S Patwalia, Additional Solicitor General was opposing the release of a French woman, Marie Emmanuelle Verhoeven on the reason that she may not come back if release is ordered. The main allegation against the lady was that she had taken part in the assassination of a senate member of Chile in 1991. The Court stated that as per the undertaking given by the French Government the lady will stay in India and will extend her full cooperation with the proceedings. The bench headed by Justice Kurian Joseph said that from February onwards she had been detained as entire proceedings like extradition to Chile, Red Corner Notice etc are pending. Moreover there is an adjudication on this matter by the Court of Germany, the Court added.

T R Andhyarujina, Senior lawyer appeared for the French woman and appealed for mercy. He submitted that considering her age, she may be released on any of the conditions that the Supreme Court finds it appropriate. The Additional Solicitor General asked the SC a week to clarify the points and therefore the case is adjourned to 16th November.

Adv. Jewel Panicker