SRINAGAR: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday transferred to the High Court (HC) of J&K and Ladakh a petition alleging that over 20 persons detained under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act had been shifted out of prisons in the newly created Union Territory to jails in states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, The Tribune reported.
The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, leading a Bench, stated that since the High Court (HC) was already handling petitions challenging the 2018 amendments made to the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, it would be appropriate for the present petition to be heard there as well.
The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Jammu and Kashmir administration, as per The Tribune mentioned that family members of the detainees were being allowed to meet them in jails located in other states, emphasizing that this was an accepted practice.
The Bench, while transferring the plea filed by Raja Begum and other relatives of the detainees to the HC, requested the Chief Justice of the HC to expedite the hearing of the petition. The Bench also granted senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing the petitioners, the freedom to bring up the matter in the HC.
In response to the petition alleging the shifting of the detainees, the Supreme Court had previously instructed the Central government and the Union Territory administration to provide their responses. Solicitor General Mehta had described these issues as matters of genuine national security.
The petitioners claimed that the detainees had been relocated from jails in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in their family members being unable to meet them.
The court was addressing a petition submitted by Raja Begum and three others. Raja Begum’s son, Arif Ahmad Sheikh, a resident of Parimpora in Srinagar, had been transferred to the Central Jail in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. He had been detained on April 7 of the previous year.