The strange cage of Public Safety Act

The strange cage of Public Safety Act
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Srinagar: Every other day, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court quashes three to four detentions under PSA. Yet, the detainees are not released and are, instead, detained again under PSA, without even any new charges pressed against the prisoners.
In the past one month, the High Court has quashed more than 30 PSA detentions because of lacunae in police dossiers. In most of the cases, the court, while quashing the PSA detentions, has remarked that no new (criminal) activity has been shown by police agencies as grounds to detain a person under PSA.
The 4th PSA detention of Ghulam Nabi Gojri, a resident of Qadeem Pora in Sopore, was recently quashed by the High Court, but he has been slapped with yet another PSA – all this within a span of two months.
Mohammad Yousuf Sheikh, an 80-year-old political activist from Iqbal Nagar, Sopore, was also slapped with a 4th PSA, two days after his 3rd PSA was quashed by High Court on October 18 (last Wednesday).
Interestingly, the different court benches that quashed the earlier three PSA detention orders passed by District Magistrate Baramulla against Sheikh held that it was illegal to book him on the same grounds under which he was booked earlier. The court’s words apparently made no impression on the district magistrate’s ears, for the grounds of detention were repeated as they were in the fourth PSA order.
Advocate Nasir Qadri, who represents cases of PSA detainees, said, “It is absolutely illegal that a person is detained without any reason. The police dossiers don’t show any fresh activity and more painful is the way these PSA detention orders are passed.”
It is not just the police dossiers that can be faulted; the detainees are not even allowed to make a representation to the detaining authority over their cause of detention.
While quashing three recent PSA detentions, the High Court has said, “The detenues have not been informed that they have a right to make a representation to the detaining authority. Negation of this inalienable right renders the order of detention liable to be quashed.”
Advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain, who over the past twenty years has been fighting PSA detentions, said, “It is an abuse of human rights where a person without any fault is being put behind bars.”
He added, “Over the past few years the detentions have risen three-fold. Once a detention is quashed, one cannot hold the person for the same offence as already the punishment has been served. But they (government authorities) are keeping them behind bars and no one is questioning them.”
Bashir Ahmed Saulihah of Baramulla, Ikhlas Ahmed Sheikh and Waseem Ahmed Dar of Sopore, Bashir Ahmed Sofi, Hilal Ahmed Bhat, Majid Ahmed Lone, and Arif Hussain Bhat of Kupwara, and Ali Mohammad Dar of Hajin, all have had their PSA detentions quashed by the High Court, and all of them continue to languish in various jails under a freshly-slapped PSA.

 

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