HC takes up plea to shift Mian Qayoom out of Tihar Jail

Asks govt to respond within 4 days, video-conference to see and ascertain Qayoom's health

HC takes up plea to shift Mian Qayoom out of Tihar Jail

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the government on an application seeking shifting of Kashmir Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom, who is in prison under Public Safety Act (PSA) since August 5, 2019, in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. The application sought his shifting to his house in Delhi so that he could discharge his religious obligations in the month of Ramadan.

The division bench of Chief justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal directed the government counsel to consider the matter and take a view thereon.

The court also directed the government to positively file a reply to the application within four days.

The application, filed by Ashia Bano, wife of Mian Qayoom, through senior counsel, ZA Qureshi, stated that her husband was suffering from multiple ailments and was in an extremely fragile state of health.

“Qayoom is suffering from diabetes and is at high risk of contracting COVID19 in the overcrowded jail environment and if it happens, it would be perilous for his life,” the application said.

The applicant had sought that the respondent be directed to consider the possibility of shifting Qayoom from Tihar Jail to the house he owns at Abul Fazal Enclave in Shaheen Bagh, New Delhi, so that he could discharge his religious obligations and also look after his wife.

Counsel ZA Qureshi while emphasizing the threat of Covid-19 infection in jail submitted that jail inmates are also subjected to exposure from jail staff who do not reside within the jail premises but come from their residences.

“There is every possibility of their bringing infection into the jail,” he said.

He further submitted that apart from Qayoom’s ill health, he has been in detention the entire winter and as such he has only winter clothing with him.

Qureshi submitted that temperatures in Delhi are over 40 degrees Centigrade and lack of summer clothing would be causing extreme distress to the already ailing Qayoom.

“Given the lockdown situation, it is difficult for the family members to hand over the belongings of Qayoom to him,” he submitted in the application.

Quereshi pointed out that the holy month of Ramadan is to commence from April 24 and requires certain essential discipline to be followed by all Muslims.

“But Qayoom would not be able to discharge his religious obligations in Tihar Jail,” he submitted.

It was further submitted by Qureshi that Qayoom and his wife have been blessed with four daughters but do not have a son.

“As such, the applicant who is stated to be 68 years of age, and also suffering from several life threatening diseases, has been compelled to reside alone. In the current lockdown situation, she (wife of Qayoom) is finding it extremely difficult to fend for herself,” Qureshi submitted.

Quereshi, while relying upon the provisions of Section 19 of the Public Safety Act, 1978, which enables government to revoke a detention order, and Section 20 which enables temporary release of the person detained, submitted that the facts of the case brought on record by the applicant merits that the government take a view.

The court after going through the application directed the respondents to inform the court of the medical status of Qayoom.

The court also gave liberty to the applicant to hand over the summer clothing for Mian Qayoom to the IGP Kashmir for having the same delivered to the detenu in jail No. 3, Central Jail Tihar.

The bench also directed Superintendent, jail No. 3, Central Jail, Tihar, to appear before the court through video conferencing by next date of hearing.

The superintendent was also directed to produce Mian Abdul Qayoom before the court through video-conferencing to enable the court to ascertain the status of his health by April 27.

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