Supreme Court asks J&K admin to explain detaining bar leader after expiry of order under PSA

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom. File

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom. File   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to explain on July 23 the basis for detaining the erstwhile State’s High Court Bar Association president and 73-year-old Mian Abdul Qayoom for nearly a year.

Also read: Supreme Court issues notice on J&K advocate’s detention under PSA

“He is 73. We want to know on what basis you like to detain him in Tihar (Jail). His detention as per the order has already expired,” a Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul addressed Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

Mr. Mehta said Mr. Qayoom’s ideology goes against national interest.

To this, Justice Kaul reiterated that the detention period has expired and there are compulsions of law that need to be complied with. Besides, the Bench said Mr. Qayoom’s ideology seems to remain unchanged. It further reminded the administration about the nature of the present health crisis.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate Vrinda Grover, for Mr. Qayoom, said the septuagenarian should not be in Tihar amid the pandemic.

Mr. Dave submitted he could understand the administration's anxiety. “But this detention order was only for a limited period. The petition was kept pending for three months and he has been illegally detained,” Mr. Dave argued.

Mr. Qayoom has been detained under the Public Safety Act since August 7 last year. His petition said he was taken to Agra Jail without “prior intimation”.

The J&K High Court had rejected his habeas corpus petition to quash his “illegal and prolonged detention” on May 28. The High Court had declined his plea for personal liberty despite concluding that the detention order was based on “somewhat clumsy grounds”.

Mr. Qayoom submitted that the detention order was based on four “stale, irrelevant” FIRs dating back to 2008 and 2010. Mr. Qayoom said he had never been arrested or chargesheeted on the basis of these FIRs. In fact, he had been detained in 2010 on the basis of these FIRs, but the detention was subsequently revoked. Mr. Qayoom said the same FIRs cannot be used a decade later to pass another order of detention in August 2019.

“The judgment (of the High Court), recognising the pitfalls inherent in the sole ground provided by the four stale and irrelevant FIRs, deploys the perceived ideology of the petitioner (Qayoom) to try and establish proximity, pertinence and relevance to the FIRs to justify the detention order,” the special leave petition in the Supreme Court said.

By justifying his detention, the High Court has sanctioned “State-induced thought policing”, he submitted.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 12:00:22 AM |

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