Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed detention orders under Public Safety Act against three persons on “technical grounds” but has left it open for the authorities to pass fresh orders “strictly in compliance with the mandate of law.”
The detention orders quashed by the court include that of Shabir Ahmad Shah and Mohammad Ashraf Sheikh, both residents of Pulwama besides Sahil Ahmad Bhat of Ganderbal.
Shah had petitioned the court against detention order dated 22nd of October 2018, issued by the District Magistrate, Pulwama to “prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State”.
As per the officials, Shah was an over ground worker of Hizbul Mujahideen. Allegations against him are that in the year 2002, Shah was arrested by Delhi Police Special Cell for his involvement in FIR No.45/2002 registered under Section 3/5 and Section 20 of the POTA Act, in which he was subsequently released. Officials also claimed his involvement is two other cases—one filed in 2006 and another in 2016.
The allegations against Sheikh include that he participated in various processions and resorted to violence for enforcing strike calls given by the separatists. In 2019 Parliamentary Elections, officials said, Sheikh’s complicity in attack by mob on government and private vehicles carrying polling staff to Tral was established. Besides officials claimed Sheikh’s involvement in an FIR registered against a mob with regard to heavy stone pelting on police personnel.
Sahil as per the officials was a “chronic stone pelter” and his involvement has been alleged in four FIRs.
In all three petitions, a bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur said it was quite clear that the petitioners had not been provided the requisite documents which found a mention in the grounds of detention. The court said lack of providing the documents prevented the petitioners from making an effective representation before the concerned authorities. The order of detentions, the court said, in those circumstances cannot be sustained in law and accordingly quashed them.
The court ordered their release forthwith “if not required in any other case.” However, the court made clear in each case that since the order of detention has been quashed on technical grounds, it would be open to the concerned authorities to “pass fresh order, if they deem it necessary, strictly in compliance with the mandate of law.” (GNS)