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‘Can’t be used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody’: J&K High Court quashes three PSA detention orders

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed three detention orders under Public Safety Act (PSA) and asked the authorities to release the detainees “if not required in any other case.”

A bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul quashed orders against Sajad Ahmad Bhat son of Ghulam Hassan Bhat of Nagam Chadoora, Budgam, Aijaz Ahmad Dar son of Habibullah Dar of Nasrullahpora, Budgam, and Manzoor Ahmad Ganaie son of Ghulam Qadir Ganie of Koil, Pulwama.

 

“Preventive detention cannot be resorted to when sufficient remedies are available under general laws of the land for any omission or commission under such laws,” the court observed while disposing of the petition.

Referring to Apex Court’s judgment V. Shantha v. State of Telangana and others (2017), the court said that the preventive detention cannot be used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody without trial.

“Recourse to normal legal procedure would be time consuming and would not be an effective deterrent to prevent the (detainee) from indulging in further prejudicial activities, affecting maintenance of public order or security of the State, and that there was no other option except to invoke the provisions of the preventive detention Act as an extreme measure to insulate,” the court said.

It added: “No doubt the offences alleged to have been committed by (detainee) are such as to attract punishment under the prevailing laws but that has to be done under the said prevalent laws and taking recourse to preventive detention laws would not be warranted.”

 Preventive detention involves detaining of a person without trial in order to prevent him from committing certain types of offences, the court said. “But such detention cannot be made a substitute for the ordinary law and absolve the investigating authorities of their normal functions of investigating crimes which the (detainee) may have committed. After all, preventive detention cannot be used as an instrument to keep a person in perpetual custody without trial,” the court observed.

In all these judgments, the court directed authorities to set them at liberty forthwith provided they are not required in any other case. (GNS)