HC notice to govt on Masrat’s plea against fresh PSA detention

HC notice to govt on Masrat’s plea against fresh PSA detention

Srinagar: The J&K high court on Monday issued notice to government on a petition filed by senior resistance leader Masrat Alam challenging latest detention order under Public Safety Act against him by the ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the state.
A bench of Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar directed the government to file the reply to the plea, filed by Alam through his counsel advocate Mian Qayoom, within two weeks.
The fresh detention order was slapped against Alam despite the observations by the high court that the PSA law has been “operated against him in an unfair, unjust and unreasonable manner.”
“Preventive detention is undemocratic and repugnant to rule of law. It violates the fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence, which stresses on presumption of innocence of the accused till he is proved guilty in a fair and transparent trial,” Justice Hasnain Masoodi said in his 17-page judgment, while quashing Alam’s latest detention – of the nearly 20 such detentions under the PSA in the past 25 years.
The 43-year-old, who apparently is being dubbed as a successor to octogenarian Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Geelani, was released after a 53-month-long captivity on March 7.
Alam was then again rearrested on April 17 and was ordered to be detained under the PSA by the ruling PDP-BJP government to calm down “anger” expressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi against his release.
To discourage repeated detentions under PSA, courts have held that the second detention order can be passed only if there are fresh grounds. The courts have made it clear that the fresh grounds cannot mean the apprehension expressed by authorities or the police that the detainee might create trouble on his release.
“In this case, (Alam), as stated by (the authorities), is accused in as many as 27 criminal cases and instead of taking effective steps to conclude investigation and to prosecute criminal cases pending against (him) and to oppose grant of bail or even seek cancellation of bail wherever necessary, (official authorities) have resorted to his detention under the Act. If (Alam) is to be believed, (the authorities) have in all slapped 19 detention orders on (him) in the past two-and-a half decades,” the court had said, while observing that Alam has suffered detention for most part of the past 25 years.
“Such recourse is repugnant to spirit and mandate of Articles 21 (right to personal liberty). The Act has been operated against (Alam) in an unfair, unjust and unreasonable manner, not in tune with fundamental right to life and personal liberty, guaranteed under Chapter III of the Constitution,” the court had said.

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