New Delhi, Dec 9: Two days after he was released “temporarily”, the Jammu and Kashmir administration informed the Supreme Court on Monday that it had permanently revoked the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) against NRI businessman Mubeen Shah, who had been picked by authorities in Kashmir in August.
Shah was released on Saturday from the Agra Central Jail where he had been moved to on August 7 after being detained in Kashmir Valley, along with a host of political leaders, social activists and separatists following the Centre”s announcements related to Jammu and Kashmir.
The release of Shah on Saturday was “temporary” and he was asked to surrender on March 7 next year, according to an order issued by Principal Home Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir.
However, on Sunday, the same officer issued another order, submitted before the Supreme Court, saying that the PSA had been revoked under section 19 (1) of the Act and the fresh order superseded its order of December 6.
Under this Act, the government may at any time revoke or modify the detention order against any individual.
“In exercise of the powers conferred under section 19 (1) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978, the government hereby in supersession of government order…dated December 6, revokes the detention order…dated August 7, 2019…,” the order said.
A bench of Justices N V Ramana, R Subhash Reddy and B R Gavai allowed the withdrawal of a plea challenging the August 7 order after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the union territory, said the PSA has been permanently revoked.
The top court was hearing a plea filed by Asifa Mubeen, the wife of Mubeen Shah, seeking quashing of the August 7 order of detention along with the grounds of detention under section 8(1)(a) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.
The counsel appearing for Asifa said they would like to withdraw the plea as it has become infructuous. The bench then allowed the plea to be withdrawn.
“Once the Solicitor General submitted the order of complete revocation of PSA against my client, the petition was disposed off,” Shah”s counsel Shariq J Reyaz told PTI after the hearing.
Shah is among the host of politicians, social activists and businessmen detained after August 5, when the Centre announced its decisions to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and divide the state into two union territories — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
He is possibly the first person charged under the controversial PSA to have been released by the union territory administration without any such directions from the court.
Shah figured during the US Congress hearing on South Asia human rights, focused on India”s action in Kashmir last month when Indian-American Democratic lawmaker from Washington”s 7th Congressional district Pramila Jayapal raised the issue about his detention.
“One of the individuals detained without charges is Dr Mubeen Shah, who is the uncle of my constituents in Seattle…this is former CEO of chamber of commerce. His urologist who is affiliated with Registrar General of Hospital has called for his immediate release because of serious medical issues.”
Assuring Jayapal, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice G Wells replied that America had taken up the issue of Shah with the Indian government.
“Yes, we explicitly raised the case of Dr Shah and shared your concern about the grounds for detention particularly given the health condition. We have received a response that he is receiving medication,” she said.
Based out of Malaysia, where he runs his handicrafts business, Shah used to visit Kashmir once in a year. Earlier, he was president of the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He had come to Kashmir in May this year from Malaysia for a short duration but had to extend it due to a bereavement in his family and later due to infection for which he was undergoing treatment in a Srinagar hospital.