Despite court order, ‘clerical error’ keeps rights activist Khurram Parvez in jail

The J&K Police had picked up Parvez from his home in Srinagar on September 16, a day after he was disallowed to board a Geneva bound flight at Delhi

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:November 29, 2016 7:35 am
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Even after J&K High Court on Friday termed the detention of human rights activist Khurram Parvez under Public safety Act “not only illegal” but “abuse of power” and ordered J&K Government to release him, Parvez is still in prison. The reason: a minor error in the date of the issue of PSA warrant at one place in the order. Superintendent of Kotbalwal Jail Dinesh Sharma told The Indian Express “there was a minor clerical mistake in the (court) order and we will release him (Parvez) as soon as it is rectified”. Director General of Prisons S K Mishra said he can’t comment because he hasn’t received any order. “As soon as the jail receives the order, they will release (him),” he said. J&K’s Home Secretary Home R K Goel said he will have to check. “I haven’t received any order,” he said.

“The High Court hasn’t just ordered his release, it has questioned the detention itself,” a close relative of Parvez told The Indian Express. “We have been waiting for his release since Friday when the court order was issued. Today, the jail authorities told us that they cannot release him because there is a minor error in the order”. He said “at one place in the order, the date of the issue of the PSA warrant against him (Parvez) has been put as September 19 instead of September 21”. “The jail authorities called it a minor error but wanted the Home department to disregard this small issue and tell them to release him. That didn’t happen. Now we will have to approach the Court again to issue a fresh order to correct this error,” he said. The PSA warrant was issued on September 21 while this warrant was based on a dossier of the Senior Superintendent Police issued on September 19.

The J&K Police had picked up Parvez from his home in Srinagar on September 16, a day after he was disallowed to board a Geneva bound flight at Delhi as he was on his way to attend United Nations Human Rights Council session and was subsequently booked under PSA and imprisoned at Kotbalwal jail in Jammu.

Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar while ordering Parvez’s release had said that District Magistrate Srinagar Farooq Ahmad Lone has “arbitrarily” ordered his detention and “nothing is brought into the notice of the Court” to show that “involvement of the detenue (has) surfaced as an accused” in the FIRs mentioned in the grounds of detention. “…he (Detaining Authority) has not been sure whether the activities of the detenue were prejudicial to the security of the State or maintenance of public order and has, thus, arbitrarily, ordered for detention…It also shows that the detention order suffers from lack of application of mind on the part of the Detaining Authority,” the order said. “Though it is the duty of the State and its authorities to maintain peace in the society but it is equally their responsibility to ensure that laws, which they invoke to achieve such purpose, are followed and complied with honestly”.

Referring to Public Safety Act, Justice Attar had said “a society which has catapulted itself to the highest position of democratic values and principles, may not accept the law like the Act of 1978”. Saying that Parvez’s detention order “is not only illegal but the Detaining Authority has abused its powers in ordering his (Parvez’s) detention, the Court said that “…….perusal of the FIR’s…. show that in none of these FIRs, the detenue (Parvez) has been named as an accused”.

“Nothing is brought to the notice of the Court, either in the grounds of detention or in the Reply Affadavit, that in the investigation of these FIRs, involvement of the detnue (Parvez) surfaced as an accused,” the Court said.

The Court had also raised serious questions about the police case against Parvez that led to his arrest initially, saying that the police witnesses “made parrot-like statements”, gave wrong parentage and address of Parvez and also didn’t provide the content of the slogans that they accused Parvez had instigated people to make. The Court also said that (Detaining Authority) has not been sure whether the activities of the detenue were prejudicial to the security of the State or maintenance of public order,” Justice Muzzafar Hussain Attar said in the order.