J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar has taken strong exception to the criticism of Masarat Aalam release by India’s lawmakers. It said Aalam was illegally detained for four-and-half-years.
“Detaining a person repeatedly on same charges is not only a serious violation of international covenants on Human Rights, but is also a violation of the provisions of draconian Public Safety Act itself, and the law laid down by the Supreme Court of India in this behalf,” the statement issued by the Bar said.
The Bar Association has reiterated that an order of detention on the grounds of the activities being prejudicial to the “public order” or “security of the state” can survive only, if not challenged in the court of law, for a period of three months or six months respectively, unless extended by three or six months more.
However, when the order of detention is challenged in the court of law and is quashed, then the person concerned cannot be held in detention anymore, on the same grounds, and has to be released. He can however, be detained under the PSA again, only when after his release, fresh grounds come into existence which are considered objectively by the detaining authority and he reaches to a conclusion that the fresh grounds warrant his detention again. The said order of the detaining authority is again subject to approval of the advisory board constituted under the Act and also subject to judicial scrutiny.
“In Jammu and Kashmir state, the aforesaid Public Safety Act, has, however, been abused and misused by all the authorities including the government,” the Bar said, adding, “The people are detained repeatedly under the PSA and when the order is challenged before the court and is quashed, they detain the person again on the same charges to make his release impossible.”
Sometimes, the Bar said the orders are revoked before the stipulated period to time, so as to defeat the process of law and deprive the courts to render its verdict. “The purpose is to keep the person concerned behind the bars and to see that he does not come out of jail at any cost,” the statement said.
After visiting the jails all over the state and outside, the Bar Association said, it has invariably found people languishing in jails without trial and in most of the cases under repeated orders of dentition.
“In this respect Masrat Alam is also no exception,” it said. He was arrested in October 2010 and till his release in March, 2015, he was detained on six occasions under PSA.
Likewise from 1990 till his last release in March, 2015, he was detained under PSA 16 times and in all the grounds of his detention, the same stale, old and frivolous grounds have been repeatedly used by the detaining authorities. His every order of detention has been quashed by the courts, but even then he has not been released and just to prolong his detention he has been booked in frivolous cases. He has obtained bail in all the cases registered against him, but despite that, he was kept behind the bars for none of his faults. His last order of detention, which he didn’t challenge in the court of law on the ground that the orders of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and Hon’ble High Court passed previously in his detention cases, having not been honoured by the State Govt., as such there is no fun in challenging the said detention order before the High court, came to an end in February, 2015, but even then he was not released. He has thus continued in illegal detention for 15 years from 1990 till March, 2015, in jails, though no court has found him guilty in any case or convicted him for any charge, the Bar said.