The Executive Magistrate who passed the detention orders of prominent human rights defender Khurram Parvez did not see him personally or issue a show cause for bail bond, as required by the law, when he sent him to judicial custody.
When asked by the Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar Rashid Ali Dar to respond to the submission of counsels of Khurram that he was not produced before a magistrate, the Executive Magistrate Mohammad Amin Najar said: “I was told that he is handicapped and he is in jeep”.
Najar’s submission to court is in complete contradiction of the detention order he passed on September 16. The order issued by Executive Magistrate Najar to send Khurram to a jail in Kupwara, however, claimed that he “couldn’t produce a guarantor or the personal bond” and therefore was sent to a jail in Kupwara.
The J&K Police have put Khurram under preventive detention after they picked him up from his home at 11.45 PM on Thursday because they “apprehend he may cause a breach of peace”. As per the sections (107/151 CRPC) of the law invoked by the police against Khurram, “a personal bond with or without sureties would have sufficed for his immediate release”. The police didn’t allow that to happen.
As the case of Khurram came up for hearing on Tuesday before the Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, the magistrate Mohammad Amin Najar, a revenue officer, remained silent. “I have nothing to say,” Najar told the judge Rashid Ali Dar when asked to respond to the submissions filed by the counsels of Khurram.
Reprimanding the magistrate, the judge asked him if he knew about the procedure established by law. “Do you know under which section a show cause notice has to be prepared? When did you get the judicial powers,” the judge asked Najar.
Chairperson of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) and Programme coordinator of J-K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) Khurram was shifted to Kupwara sub-jail under judicial remand on Thursday under sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPc) with the J-K Police stating that “he stood outside a mosque near his house (on Thursday evening) and incited people to shout slogans and march towards (nearby) Tourist Reception Centre”.
The order for police detention, first for ten days and later reduced to five days, was given by Naib Tehsildar, Kothibagh, Najar.
While talking to The Indian Express, Najar – who has the powers of an executive magistrate – said his superior officer passed the case to him and he had no other option than to pass the orders.
“I was told he (Khurram) is handicapped and cannot walk to my office. I felt for him. I saw the (police) jeep myself from the window. I sent an orderly to check if he was there. How could I pass the order without seeing?” he said. Though Khurram has lost one of his legs in a landmine blast more than a decade ago, he is able to walk normally with a prosthetic leg. “The concerned SHO (Station House Officer, Police) said he (Khurram) is the person and read his charges to me, what else was needed”.
Though Khurram was under custody, the magistrate says his orderly asked the human rights activist if he has anyone with him who could seek bail on his behalf. “He had no one with him,” Najar said.
When asked how anyone could have been with Khurram or how he could have contacted anyone when in police custody, Najar said: “That is right. He could not have. Police could have.” When asked if as magistrate he ordered police to contact his family, Najar said “He had to call himself. Even our phones were not working (J-K government had suspended the mobile networks in Valley).”
Khurram was represented by a battery of lawyers on Tuesday as they challenged the magisterial order of his detention terming it “illegal” and saying “no show cause notice was served” to him, as required by the sub-section 1 of Section 107 of CrPC. J-K government had sent no lawyer to challenge the legal proceedings initiated by JKCCS and the executive magistrate Najar personally appeared before the court.