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THE Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday quashed the detention of alleged stone thrower Ishfaq Ahmad under the Public Safety Act, observing that classifying the detainee as a “notorious stone pelter’’ cannot be sufficient to invoke statutory powers of preventive detention.
“After all, preventive detention cannot be used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody without trial,” Justice Tashi Rabstan observed and quashed Ishfaq’s detention.
Justice Rabstan referred to a Supreme Court verdict in which it held as illegal the preventive detention of a person by a state after branding him a “goonda’’ merely because the normal process is ineffective and time-consuming in curbing the evil he spreads.
The apex court had observed that preventive detention cannot be resorted to when sufficient remedies were available under the general law of the land.
Justice Rabstan said no doubt the offences alleged to have been committed by the detainee were such as to attract punishment under the prevailing laws, but taking recourse to preventive detention laws would not be warranted.
Pointing out that preventive detention involves detaining a person without trial so as to prevent him from committing certain type of offences, he observed that such detention cannot be made a substitute for ordinary law and absolve the investigating authorities of their normal functions of probing crimes which the detainee may have committed.