SRINAGAR: The High Court has invalidated seven detention orders that were issued under the Public Safety Act and has directed the authorities to release the detainees who were held in preventive custody. The seven individuals are Suhail Ahmad Bhat from Srinagar, Altaf Ahmad Bhat from Kupwara, Farooq Ahmad Khan from Bandipora, Shamim Ahmad Wani from Anantnag, Mohammad Khumani Dar from Pulwama, Tanveer Ahmad Malik from Anantnag, and Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar from Kulgam. The orders to detain them were issued on different dates, namely 21.1.2023, 4.12.2021, 25.6.2022, 7.4.2022, 18.10.2021, 13.08.2021, and 29.03.2022.
The detention order issued against Suhail Ahmad Bhat in January 2023 has not been executed yet, and the petitioner is currently receiving specialized medical treatment in Delhi with a valid permission from the court of Special Judge Designated Under NIA Act, Srinagar.
In Bhat’s case, the court stated that the respondents are aware that he is not absconding or avoiding arrest but is instead in Delhi for medical treatment. The court further added that the detention order cannot remain in effect indefinitely and in violation of the provisions of the PSA, especially when it has not been executed due to the respondents’ failure without any reasonable explanation. Therefore, the court invalidated the order.
The court addressed the cases of three other detainees and stated that they cannot exercise their constitutional and statutory rights guaranteed under Article 22(5) of the Constitution of India unless they are given access to the material on which their detention is based.
The court also noted that the grounds for detention provided to these detainees were merely a copy of the dossier provided to the detaining authority, which indicates that the detaining authority did not apply its own judgment and passed the detention order in a mechanical and routine manner. The court emphasized that the detaining authority must use its own independent judgment when formulating grounds for detention and cannot simply reiterate what is written in the dossier, as this would render the detention order invalid.
The detention record produced by the respondents showed that the detaining authority passed the order of detention based on activities of the detenu that were considered prejudicial to public order, while the grounds of detention referred to activities prejudicial to the security of the State. This indicates that the detaining authority did not apply proper thought while arriving at its subjective satisfaction. The court, taking into account the aforementioned facts and the law, allowed the petitions and annulled the detention orders issued by the District Magistrates. The respondents were instructed to immediately release the detenues, provided they were not detained in any other case.
Regarding the case of detenue-Imtiyaz Ahmad Dar, the court stated that the regular law should have been sufficient to prevent the detenu from engaging in activities deemed prejudicial to the security of the State by the detaining authority.
In the case of detenue Tanvir Ahmad Malik, the Division Bench found that the grounds of detention did not provide sufficient compelling reasons to justify his continued detention, especially since there was no evidence to suggest that he would engage in such activities if released on bail.
On the other hand, the court upheld the PSA of detenue-Muntazir Ahmad Mir, who was detained by the District Magistrate Pulwama. The court found that the grounds of detention against Mir were specific and included the names of alleged terrorists with whom he had close association, showing his involvement in subversive activities. Therefore, the court deemed the grounds of detention against Mir to be clear and specific, and not vague.