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Close to three months after being detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) at Kot Bhalwal Jail, the High Court on December 6, set aside the PSA order of September 18, 2016 against a detenue from Baramulla on grounds of the detenue being a minor of only 16 years of age, JKCCS said in a statement .

Section 8(3)(f) of PSA bars the detention under the Act of any person under the age of eighteen years. The High Court in its order explicitly stated that any “further custody of the minor shall be governed by the orders of the competent authority/Magistrate in accordance with the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013” that has a separate procedure for juveniles in conflict with law.

On December 9, the statement said, the family members of the minor detenue served the orders to the Jail authorities at Kot Bhalwal Jammu. Despite the explicit orders of the High Court, the minor detenue soon after his release by the jail authorities was arrested by the CID Counter-insurgency Jammu wing and taken to Joint Interrogation Centre (JIC), Meeran Sahib, Jammu where he was kept for the night. The post-PSA quashment transfer of detenues to the JIC is a routine procedure followed by the police in absolute disregard of the High Court orders of quashment. Further, the illegal detention at JIC is then justified under false FIR’s as convenient.

“The re-arrest of the minor detenue is in absolute disregard to the High Court direction as it appears no orders for his re-arrest exist from the “competent authority/magistrate” under the juvenile justice law,” the statement said. Further, Section 11 of the J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 expressly bars the detention of a juvenile in a police lock-up or jail. Therefore, the detention of the minor detenue at the JIC is illegal. While it appears the Government of Jammu and Kashmir has yet to constitute Juvenile Justice Board’s, the law warrants that he now be immediately produced before the concerned Chief Judicial Magistrate to allow for bail proceedings if necessary.

Amnesty International had earlier issued an urgent action regarding two cases of PSA against minors, including the instant case, and called upon the authorities to ensure “fair trials in accordance with international juvenile justice standards, using detention only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period, and ensuring that any detention be in a separate facility for children, as close as possible to their families in order to facilitate family contact”


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