In its first three responses to more than 250 writs of habeas corpus challenging preventive detentions under the stringent J&K Public Safety Act, the state Home department has informed the Srinagar wing of Jammu & Kashmir High Court that it has revoked the PSA slapped against the detainees.
Confirming the dropping of the PSA charge, J&K Senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar informed the single-judge bench of Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey that it has revoked the detention orders passed by the District Magistrates in the three cases.
All the replies were filed by the senior AAG on September 30. And after the government response, in all the three cases, the court ruled the same day, disposing the habeas corpus petitions filed by the relatives of the detainees as “settled”.
“In that view of the matter, the petition does not survive, therefore, is disposed of as settled,” Justice Magrey ordered in each case.
* In the first case, the government informed the court that the PSA invoked on August 17 against the petitioner was revoked on September 2. Petitioner Asrar Yaqoob Pahlo’s relatives had moved the High Court on August 28.
* In the second case, the government said that the PSA invoked on August 8 had been revoked on September 29. Petitioner Zahid Firdous Mir’s relatives had moved the High Court on September 2.
Majority challenge PSA Sec 22
The J&K decision to drop the PSA charge in the first three challenges is significant given that the majority of over 250 writs of habeas corpus filed since August 5 — 147 petitions — challenged detentions under Section 22 of the PSA, saying it was ‘not in good faith’.
* And in the third case, the government said the PSA invoked on August 27 was revoked on September 28. Petitioner Javid Ahmad Khan’s relatives had moved the High Court on September 19.
The second and third cases challenged detentions under Section 8 of the PSA which lays out the ground for detention of certain persons: “the Government may if satisfied with respect to any person that with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order.” In other words, the petitioners challenged the detention order on the ground that their activity was not a threat to the security of the state.
The first case challenged the detention under Section 22 of the Act. That section states: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall be against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.” This effectively means that petitioner challenged the detention order on the ground that order was not passed in good faith.
“B.A.Dar, Sr. AAG, has produced a copy of the Government Order No. Home/PB-V/1544 of 2019 dated 02.09.2019, in terms whereof the detention order of the detenue bearing No. DMS/ PSA/ 86/2019 dated 17.08.2019 has been revoked. In that view of the matter, the petition does not survive, therefore, is disposed of as settled,” the order stated. Identical orders have been passed in the other two cases.