In a major development and first of its kind, Supreme Court on Friday directed the Jammu and Kashmir government that if it wanted to slap Public Safety Act (PSA) on jailed Hurriyat (G) leader Masrat Aalam Bhat,it must inform him before one week so that he can take legal measures. The Supreme Court was informed by the government that the sixth consecutive PSA against Masrat has been revoked on March 18. Pertinently, Masrat’s family had approached the apex court to challenge the sixth PSA against Masrat in a row.
Earlier on January 11, the supreme court had issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir government asking it to explain the reason of continuous imprisonment of Masrat. Supreme Court had given four weeks of deadline to the state government for submitting its response. The SC again heard the case on February 22, and it was fixed for another hearing on March 22.
After his arrest in October 2010, police slapped six PSAs in a row against Masrat Aalam. His first five detentions were quashed by the state high court.
“Sensing the ineffectiveness of the state high court, we had decided to move to the apex court. Hence an application was moved through SC lawyer Mittya Ramakrshna and the application was heard three times till then,” a Muslim league spokesman told Kashmir Life.
He said that the state government today revealed that PSA against Masrat has been revoked on March 18. “The government in fact tried to convey that there was nothing in the petition because the PSA against which it had been submitted stands revoked,” said the spokesman adding that the supreme court however passed a direction to the state government that it must inform the applicant before one week in case PSA is slapped on him so that he can take necessary judicial measures.
Sources said that the application on behalf of Masrat Aalam Bhat was moved by his uncle, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, challenging PSA against Masrat and the application was heard by Justice R S Lodha and Justice Mukhopadhyay.
It is for the first time that Supreme Court of India passed a direction to the state government asking it to inform the applicant before one week if it has to slap PSA on him.
The pioneer of 2010, mass uprising, Masrat Aalam Bhat, was arrested on October 2010, after remaining underground for more than four months in order to avoid his arrest. By the time Masrat used to issue protest calendars which were strictly followed by the people. Masrat is undergoing detention in district jail Kuthua.
Masrat is the deputy chief of Muslim League, a constituent of Hurriyat (G), lead by Syed Ali Geelani. Muslim League Chief, Dr Ashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Dr Qasim is undergoing life imprisonment in central jail Srinagar.