J&K HC quashes detention of Masrat Alam under PSA

Jammu and Kashmir High Court (HC) has again quashed the detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) of Muslim League chairman Masrat Alam, who was issuing weekly protest calendar during 2010 agitation.

Quashing the detention of Masrat under PSA after hearing arguments from his counsel Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoum and the state counsel, a bench of Justice Rashid Ali Dar has directed government to release Masrat if not required in any other case.

Masrat Alam, a close confident of hardline Hurriyat Conference (HC) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was arrested in October 2010, when he was issuing weekly protest calendars in the Kashmir valley. However, immediately after Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition government headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2014, Masrat Alam was released after about four years of detention. However, he was arrested again after few months following sharp reaction from BJP and other saffron party leaders and Congress. Since then he remained under detention as government used to slap another PSA immediately after his earlier detention under the Act was being quashed by the court.

Masrat through his counsel had challenged his 37th detention order which was issued against him by District Magistrate, Baramulla, on November 13, 2018 on the basis of a dossier and other documents forwarded to him by the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Baramulla.

The court cited Article 22(5) of Constitution of India and Section 13 of J&K PSA and said these provisions guarantee two important safeguards to the detainee – one he or she is informed of grounds on the basis of which the detaining authority passes the detention order, and second the detainee is allowed to represent against his or her detention immediately after the detention order is made or executed.

The court in its order on Monday further said that constitutional and Statutory safeguards guaranteed to the detainee are meaningful only if the detainee is handed over the material referred to in the grounds of detention to derive the subjective satisfaction that the preventive detention is necessary to prevent him from acting in the manner prejudicial to the security of the State of public order
The court held that it should be ensured by the detaining authority that the grounds of detention are not vague, sketchy and ambiguous so as to keep the detainee guessing about what really weighed with the detaining authority to make the order.
Quashing the detention of Masrat the court said “The order of detention impugned does not sustain on the above referred grounds alone, therefore, other grounds projected in the petition are not required to be dealt with”.(UNI)

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