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Report No. 96

3. Exchange of Prisoners Act, 1948 (58 of 1948)

The Exchange of Prisoners Act, 1948, provides for the transfer of prisoners from and to Pakistan to and from India, in pursuance of any agreement with Pakistan.1 The Act was passed to deal with the situation arising from partition. The heart of the Act is contained in section 3, and in the definition of the expression "transferable prisoner" to be found in section 2(d). The definition reads as under:-

"2. (d) 'transferable prisoner' means-

(i) in Province of East Punjab, any prisoner who, being a Muslim, is willing to be transferred to Pakistan under the provisions of this Act, and

(ii) in any other part of India, any prisoner of such category as the Central Government may specify by notification in the official Gazette who being a Muslim, is willing to be transferred to Pakistan under the provisions of this Act."

Section 3 empowers the State Government to issue warrants for the transfer of transferable prisoners. Sections 4 to 7 make provisions connected with such a warrant. Section 8 prohibits the return to India of a transferred prisoner, except with the permission in writing of the Central Government. Section 9 provides for the reception in India of prisoners transferred from Pakistan.2

The subject-matter of the Act falls within Union List, entry 10 (foreign affairs) and Union List, entry 14 (entering into and implementation of treaties with foreign countries).

Reasons for recommending repeal.-Although the Act is widely worded so as to operate beyond the period of partition, presumably that was not the intention of the legislature. Having regard to the fact that the Act was passed only to deal with the situation that arose immediately on partition, the Act may now be repealed, subject to examination of the question if it is really needed at the present day.3

1. See the long title and Preamble.

2. See statement of Object and Reasons, Gazette of India, Part V, 4th September, 1948.

3. Subject to checking.

Repeal of Certain Obsolete Central Acts Back

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