36th PSA on Masarat Alam: Classic case of misuse of power, says Bar

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Srinagar

Kashmir High Court Bar Association on Monday strongly condemned the slapping of 36th order of Public Safety Act on Masarat Alam Bhat and shifting him to Central Jail Kotbalwal Jammu again.

“It’s barbaric and ruthless and a classic case of misuse of power and authority by the government and its functionaries,” the lawyers’ body said in a statement issued here.

“The Bar Association maintains that in view of the settled legal proposition, which envisages that though the order of preventive detention is always based on the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority, but nonetheless, it is a serious invasion on the right of life and liberty of a person and as the power is statutory in nature, its exercise has to be within the limitations of the statue and the power should not be misused or abused for collateral purposes.”

The Supreme Court, the statement said, has even gone to the extent of saying that as the preventive detention involves detaining a person without trial, such detention cannot be made a substitute for ordinary law and absolve the investigating authorities of their normal functions of investigating the crime, which the detainee may have committed.

“The Supreme Court has also held that preventive detention in most of the cases is for a year or two, it cannot be therefore used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody without trial as it would amount to the infringing of his legal as well as fundamental rights. It is however, surprising that despite having registered more than fifty criminal cases against Masarat Alam Bhat, most of which are pending, in courts for trial. Masarat Alam Bhat is repeatedly being detained under Public Safety Act and lodged in jails located outside Kashmir and thereby his right of fair and speedy trial is violated and the cases pending against him in the courts are dragged on, without any substantial progress.”

The spokesman said that the 35th order of detention of Masarat Alam Bhat was quashed by High Court on 26 October and when the order was served by his family members on the jail authorities, they released him from the preventive detention only to be rearrested by the police and was taken to JIC Jammu, wherefrom he was shifted to Police Station Handwara, where he was booked in a criminal case.

However, before he could file a bail application in the criminal case, the police in league with the District Magistrate got him detained under Public Safety Act and lodged him in Central Jail Kotebalwal Jammu, which is highly deplorable, it said.
The Bar Association also expresses its deep shock on the damage caused to the shrine of Amir-i-Kabeer, Mir Syed Ali Hamdani at Fateh Kadal Srinagar and hails the efforts of those youth, who extinguished the fire and saved the shrine from getting completely burnt.

The Bar Association requests the Muslims of Kashmir, to take immediate and all necessary steps to bring back the glory of the shrine by contributing towards its reconstruction and renovation, by all means possible and also see to it that no such episode takes place in future.

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