Nationalistic Activities Provide No Immunity to A Criminal, High Court Upholds Aqib Renzu Detention


SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has upheld the preventive detention of Aqib Ahmad Renzu, a former Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) corporator, under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA). The court emphasised that participation in nationalist activities does not provide immunity from being detained for criminal activities that threaten public order.

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High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh (KL Image- Raashid Andrabi)

Renzu was detained under the PSA on October 4, 2023, following his arrest in connection with a sexual harassment case. In his habeas corpus petition, Renzu challenged the detention order, arguing that it was issued without proper consideration and that the allegations against him were fabricated. He contended that his involvement in nationalist activities, such as participating in the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign and hoisting the Indian flag at Char Chinari, demonstrated his nationalistic credentials, which should be considered in his favour.

Justice Sanjay Dhar dismissed Renzu’s arguments, stating that participation in nationalist activities does not exempt an individual from facing consequences for criminal actions. The court underscored that criminal activities prejudicial to public order cannot be overlooked due to a person’s involvement in nationalist events.

“Merely because the petitioner may have indulged in some activities which are nationalist in character does not give him a license to indulge in criminal activities. A person indulging in criminal activities, which are prejudicial to the maintenance of public order, cannot take shelter behind nationalist activities in which he may have participated at some point of time in his career,” the court observed.

The court noted that the grounds for Renzu’s detention included references to seven FIRs lodged against him between 2013 and 2023. These FIRs highlighted Renzu’s past conduct and his tendency to engage in activities that disrupt public order. The court found these grounds sufficient and relevant, indicating a clear connection between the allegations and the detention order.

Mohammad Aqib Renzu, a former corporator of SMC, is behind bars for sexual harassment. He was arrested in October 2023.

“The latest incident, which finds mention in the grounds of detention, pertains to the year 2023, which is proximate in time to the date of the impugned detention order,” the court observed.

Renzu’s counsel, Advocate Shuja ul Ha, argued that the detention grounds were vague, irrelevant, and lacked a direct link to the detention order. Additionally, he claimed that Renzu’s representation against his detention was not properly considered and that all relevant material was not provided to Renzu.

Government advocate Jehangir Ahmad Dar, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, countered these arguments, asserting that the detention was justified based on Renzu’s criminal activities and the threat he posed to public order.

The bench concluded that there was no merit in Renzu’s petition and upheld his detention under the PSA. “The petitioner may have been associated with nationalist activities, but that does not insulate him and provide him immunity from being proceeded against for indulging in serious criminal activities which endanger the peace of the society,” the court observed.


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