Personal liberty is sacrosanct: HC

Personal liberty is sacrosanct: HC

Quashes 16 PSA orders, including that of Bandipora father of five daughters

Srinagar: The high court quashed the Public Safety Act detention of 16 people, one of them a father of six children, after observing that personal liberty is sacrosanct and that the detaining authority should pass detention orders under this act only in exceptional cases.

“Personal liberty protected under Article 21 of the Constitution of India is so sacrosanct and so high in the scale of constitutional values that it is the obligation of the detaining authority to show that the impugned detention meticulously accords with the procedure established by law,” a single bench of Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir said, underling that the detaining authority is required to be alive to the personal liberty of a person.

“Such power has to be exercised in a manner, which may not have the trappings of depriving a person of the guaranteed liberty. In short, an exceptional case has to be made out for passing the preventive order, still then procedural safeguards are to be respected,” the court said and referred to apex court’s judgment in which famous observations by Justice Douglas of the United States Supreme Court has been quoted: “…It is procedure that spells much of the difference between rule of law and rule of whim or caprice. Steadfast adherence to strict procedural safeguards are the main assurances that there will be equal justice under law.”

The court made the observations while quashing the detention order under PSA passed by deputy commissioner Baramulla against Zahoor Ahmad Dar.

“The detainee is directed to be released from the preventive detention forthwith provided he is not required in connection with any other case,” the court said.

Similarly, a single bench of Justice Janak Raj Kotwal quashed the PSA detention of Assadullah Parray, a resident of Hajin.

Parray, who is father of five daughters and a son, was ordered to be detained under the PSA, described as ‘lawless law’ by amnesty international, on 8 September last year.

Parray, whose wife died in 2012, had challenged the detention order through his counsel advocate Nasir Qadri, mainly on the ground that he was in custody of police when the detention order was passed by the deputy commissioner Baramulla.

“He was in custody of the police in connection with the FIRs (registered against him) and that when ordinary law is sufficient to deal with a person, preventive detention is illegal,” Qadri said and urged the court to quash the PSA order. On the other hand, counsel for state demand dismissal of the petition filed by Parray. After hearing both the sides, the court allowed Parray’s plea and quashed the PSA order against him with a further direction to the authorities to set him free if not required in any other case.

Similarly, the court quashed the PSA orders against Mohammad Rafiq, Ameer Hamza, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Mohammad Maqbool Wani, Sheikh Danish Mushtaq, Dawood Shafqat Mir, Mohammad Hafeez Lone, Mohammad Akhbar Dar, Aijaz Ahmad Shah, Javaid Ahmad Naikoo, Tariq Ahmad Sheikh Mushoq Ahmad Bhat, Farooq Ahmad Mir and Shakeel Ahmad Bhat.

The detainees were represented before the court by advocates Mian Qayoom, Nasir Qadri, BA Tak, M S Hussain, Sakim Amin, Mir Majid Bashir, Mohammad Bhat and ZA Wani