Urgently consider releasing PSA detenues in view of Covid-19 risk: HC

Urgently consider releasing PSA detenues in view of Covid-19 risk: HC

Srinagar: The J&K High Court has directed a High Powered Committee to urgently examine the matter of releasing people held under the Public Safety Act (PSA) to prevent risk of Covid-19 outbreak in jails.

The court passed the direction after Counsel Salih Pirzada submitted that the recently constituted Jammu and Kashmir High Powered Committee has overlooked the aspect of detenues who have been detained under the Public Safety Act.

Counsel Pirzada mentioned that the order of the Supreme Court makes a reference only to prisoners without specifying the provision of law under which they may have been imprisoned.

The court of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal after hearing the counsel directed him to place his submissions by e-mail to Member Secretary, J&K legal Service Authority, who was directed to place the same before the High Powered Committee for urgent examination and dealing with the issues pointed out.

“The High Powered Committee shall keep in view the urgency of the entire matter,” the court directed.

Earlier, Amnesty International India had urged the government of India to release all prisoners who had been arbitrarily detained under Public Safety Act because of the risk of amid coronavirus infection.

Meanwhile, a government order dated April 2, 2020, was placed before court notifying the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Suspension of Sentence Rules, 2020’.

The court directed that the rules be urgently implemented and steps for grant of special parole to prisoners be taken up on priority.

The court also directed Principal Districts and Sessions Judges to ensure that the orders of the High Powered Committee are complied with forthwith and compliance report be sent to Member Secretary, JKSLSA, before the next date of hearing.

“A summary of the action report shall be placed before us by MK Sharma, Member Secretary, by April 10,” the court directed.

The court also said that Principal Districts and Sessions Judges should ensure that immediate action based on the recommendation of the Committee in its two orders dated 1st April, 2020, is taken.

Counsel Vishal Sharma also submitted that there are certain specific offences, for instance, those under investigation/ investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, which require special consideration.

The court directed the counsel to place all these concerns in writing before the High Powered Committee, which may examine the issues and pass appropriate directions.

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