Press Trust of india

Delhi HC seeks Centre’s response on plea on ‘absence of penal code for foreigners’ in J&K

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Srinagar: The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to the Centre after a plea pointed out that there was no penal code in operation in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for foreign nationals, a media report said.

As per the Bar and Bench website, the plea pointed out that Section 18 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines “India” as the territory of India excludes the “State of Jammu and Kashmir, and it remains unamended even after 2019 when Ranbir Penal Code, which was earlier applicable to J&K, was repealed.”

It said that a Division Bench of Justices Mukta Gupta and Poonam A Bamba directed the government to file its response within four weeks. The matter will now be considered on April 26.

The petition was filed by advocate Anubhav Gupta.

Through the petition, he argued that in August 2019, the Union government brought in The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 and repealed the Ranbir Penal Code, 1989 as it was operational in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, though changes were made to the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) with the Reorganisation Act, Section 18 of the IPC which defines “India” as the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu and Kashmir, remains unamended.

This effectively leaves the territory of Jammu and Kashmir with no penal code, the petitioner said.

“That the effect of the above is that while the Ranbir Penal Code, 1989 has been repealed and while Indian Penal Code, 1860 continues to have extra territorial application, so, any Indian committing offence in territory of Jammu and Kashmir would be punished, while any foreign national committing an offence in territory of Jammu and Kashmir would go scot-free as the definition of India for Indian Penal Code excludes territory of Jammu and Kashmir. This would be against constitutional guarantees in Article 19(l)(d) and (e) of the Constitution of India,” the plea stated.

The petitioner also challenged the validity of Section 18 stating that it is violative of Articles 1(3), 19(1)(d) and 19(1)(e) of the Constitution of India.

“That even Indian citizens would be facing trial under Indian Penal Code, 1860 in the territory of Jammu and Kashmir as committing offense outside India, which is against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India. This would be against Article 1 (3) of the Constitution of India. That in fact they would be subjected to various international conventions/approvals which would create an anomalous situation. This would be against Article 1(3) of the Constitution of India.”

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