It was on 23 December 2011 that the Hon’ble Gujarat High Court rendered a landmark judgement in a Writ Petition filed by the late Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora and others in the year 1999.
Besides other reliefs that were sought, the case was filed by the late General praying that the Govt may be directed to treat all missing Prisoners of War (POWs) as “on duty” for all intents and purposes till their date of retirement. It was also prayed that the Union of India be directed to take up the issue of the missing personnel with the International Human Rights Committee.
The High Court, through a very detailed and extensive order, which at places recorded bone chilling details on the subject alongwith all related evidence on the matter, directed the Union of India to approach the International Court of Justice in this regard and also to pay all retirement and service benefits to the kin of the missing personnel as if they had retired on superannuation.
The detailed judgement on the writ petition which was ordered to be treated as a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), not only traced the entire length and breadth of the issue but also dealt with accounts of individual cases.
The Ministry of Defence, though has challenged before the Supreme Court the part of the order which dealt with directions to the Govt to take up the case with the ICJ, has however implemented the other part which dealt with treating the missing personnel on duty and releasing benefits to the kin as if they (the missing personnel) remained on duty till their respective dates of retirement.
The Defence Ministry has already forwarded the order for implementation to the Services HQ who in turn have asked the respective Record Offices to immediately take requisite steps.