Srinagar: “Banning of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) cannot be said to be a ground for detention,” the J&K High Court said on Thursday while terming the grounds of detention as “stale” and “without any reasoning” and thus quashing the Public Safety Act (PSA) slapped on chief spokesperson of the JeI, Advocate Zahid Ali.
The court pointed out that the argument of Counsel Salih Pirzada representing the detenue (Ali) was fair enough as the detenue was already in custody when the organisation Jamaat-e-Islami was banned.
“That being so, the banning of the organisation cannot be said to be a ground for detaining the detenue,” Justice Sanjeev Kumar held.
The judge also recorded that the detaining authority except this ground has not attributed any fresh activity to the detenue, while the detention order has been passed on the same set of grounds as in earlier detention orders that came to be quashed by this court on 11 July, 2019, and 3 March, 2020, respectively.
Justice Kumar said, “In view of the two detention orders issued by the Detaining Authority and their quashment by this Court, there was hardly any need to place the detenue under preventive detention yet again on same set of grounds, except that the organisation Jamaat-e-Islami, of which the detenue is allegedly a spokesman, is now banned by the State.”
The court also recorded that the detenue has already been bailed out in FIR no.339/2008 of which the detaining authority has no awareness at all, making the ground of detention as stale and without any basis.
“For the foregoing reasons, I find merit in this petition. The same is allowed and the order of detention bearing Order No. 11/DMP/PSA/20 dated 29 June 2020 is quashed. The respondents are directed to release the detenue from the preventive detention forthwith, if not required in any other case,” Justice Kumar said and directed.
Earlier, the detention order was challenged for being vague and solely slapped on previous set of grounds without attribution of any fresh activity. It was also challenged on the alleged activities of the detenue as a member of JeI when he was already in custody.
Further it was challenged on the ground that Ali had been detained for pursuing the cases of militants in courts of law.
“Performance of professional duties by a lawyer cannot be ground for detaining a person in preventive custody nor can such professional activities be considered prejudicial to the security of the State,” counsel Pirzada argued before the court.
On 30 June, 2020, Advocate Zahid Ali was arrested from his residence in Nehama, Pulwama, and was subsequently detained at Police Station Kakapora. Later on, he was moved to Srinagar Central Jail.