Weak dossiers, lengthy execution of orders the main cause
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has overturned 26 Public Safety Act (PSA) detentions over the past 18 days in the months of July and August.
In a single day, the court of Justice M K Hanjura overturned eight PSA detentions, citing lacunae in police dossiers and long execution gaps in detention orders.
The detentions have mostly been quashed on the grounds that no fresh activity has been attributed to the detainees. Weak dossiers and long delays in carrying out the detention orders have also led the court to quash the orders.
In some cases, the court quashed detentions on the grounds that the detaining authorities did not allow the detainees to make a representation against the detention order.
Advocate Shafkat Nazir, who has appeared in 14 cases, says that the PSA has been misused a lot. There are many cases of habeas corpus petitions (HCP) pending before court, and when these are listed before court, they easily get overturned because of the many lacunae in the dossiers the police prepare.
“In all those cases for which I have appeared, the court overturned them on the ground that the detainee was already in custody when the detention order was passed against him. The other grounds include non-supply of material like copy of FIR, statements recorded under section 161 CrPC, copy of dossiers etc., not provided to detainees for making an effective representation,” Advocate Shafkat said.
The High Court has been overturning PSA orders continuously, but many of the detainees are not released by state police but are slapped with another detention order, keeping them behind bars for a long time.
Advocate Mir Shafkat Hussain said, “For the past nine years, there is no respite to a detainee. One PSA is quashed, then another is slapped. There is no law being followed. A detainee is being booked under PSA on previous charges, which is totally against the law and its ethics.”
India’s Supreme Court has held that for the cause of justice, it is mandatory and vital to follow procedural safeguards. These safeguards are required to be watched and enforced by the courts.
The families of the detainees have also been suffering in police stations and courts.
“We are either in the police station or in the court. This has become part of our life. No one is noticing our suffering. On the one hand, the court quashes detentions, and on the other hand, the police say that the detained has been slapped with another PSA. There is no hope from the justice delivery system now. It has failed the common man,” Ghulam Mohammad Wagay of Shopain.
The persons whose PSA detention has been quashed by the HC in the past 18 days are: Mohammad Syed Malik S/o Mohammad Ashraf Malik R/o Darpora Bomai; Mehrajudin Naikoo S/O Abdul Rashid Naikoo R/o Seelo, Sopore; Shabir Ahmad Mir S/o Mohammad Sultan Mir R/o Brath Kalan, Sopore; Shahbaz Rasool Mir S /o Ghulam Rasool Mir R/o Hajin, Bandipora; Abdul Rashid Sheikh S/o Abdul Ahad Sheikh R/o Behrampora Rafiabad, Baramulla; Syed Tameezudin S/o Syed Mohuidin R/o Dangerpora, Sopore; Mohammad Hussain Wagay S/o Gh. Mohammad Wagay R/o Nagbal, Shopian; Showkat Ahmad Kaboo S/o Ali Mohammad Kaboo R/o Arampora, Sopore; Tajamul Islam Shah S/o Mohammad Maqtoob Shah R/o Dangerpora, Sopore; Mohammad Rajab Bhat S/o Abdul Aziz Bhat R/o Palhalan, Pattan; Nazir Ahmad Khawaja S/o Gh. Nabi Khawaja R/o Seeloo, Sopore; Gh. Nabi Mir S/o Mohammad Akbar Mir R/o Iqbal Nagar, Sopore; Umar Yousuf Khan S/o Mohammad Yousuf Khan R/o Doonipawa, Anantnag; Parvaiz Ahmad Najar S/o Abdul Rehman Najar R/o Tujar Sharief Zaingeer, Baramulla; Latief Ahmed Dar of Pulwama; Basharat Ahmed Mir of Budgam; Latief Ahmed Rather of Budgam; Haroon Ahmed Sheikh of Kupwara; Mohammad Rajab Bhat of Palhallan;Tajamul Islam Shah of Sopore; Irshad Ahmed Lone of Pulwama; Nazir Ahmed Khawaja of Sopore; Owais Ahmed Bhat of Pampore; Ghulam Nabi Mir of Baramulla and Mohammad Yousuf Mir of Shopian.
Meanwhile, recent amendment in the PSA has pushed detainees and their families to another low. Families fear that lodgement of their dear ones to outside jails will bring more agony to them.
Last week, Governor N N Vohra amended the PSA to allow the government to detain people in jails outside the state. The move is feared to create more alienation and isolation among the youth and in particular ammong people of Kashmir.
Advocate Shafkat Nazir said, “Already PSA is an arbitrary and lawless law, and this law is being used by the State to prolong the custody of persons accused of commission of substantive offences and thus a tool to delay their trial. The amendment is also arbitrary and unreasonable besides being unjustifiable. There can be no justification for lodging the detainees in jails outside the state. This has been done to harass the detainees and deter the masses.”
In a statement, the Lawyers Association of Kashmir described the proposal as politically motivated and termed it as “an act to terrorise, torture and humiliate the freedom-loving people of Kashmir by threatening them [with their being] lodged in jails outside the state after the arrest and detention under the preventive law, if they persist with their demand of seeking right of self-determination, as guaranteed by the Security Council Resolutions and the pledges and promises made by the Indian leaders to them both inside and outside the Parliament”.