HC rejects Gulzar Peer’s plea against PSA detention 

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday dismissed a petition filed by self-styled faith-healer Gulzar Ahmad Bhat alias Gulzar Peer against his detention under Public Safety Act. 

Bhat, a resident of Shamasabad Khansahib, was ordered to be detained under PSA by district magistrate Budgam on March 8“to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of security of the state.” 

Bhat had challenged the order and claimed that the district magistrate has not adhered to constitutional and statutory safeguards available to him under the constitution of India and J&K Public Safety Act 1978. 

While the right of personal liberty is most precious right, a single bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan said that the personal liberty may be curtailed, where a person faces a criminal charge or is convicted of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment. 

“Framers of the Constitution have, by incorporating Article 22(5) in the Constitution, left room for detention of a person without a formal charge and trial and without such person held guilty of an offence and sentenced to imprisonment by a competent court. Its aim and object is to save the society from activities that are likely to deprive a large number of people of their right to life and personal liberty,” the court observed, adding, “In such a case it would be dangerous for the people at large, to wait and watch as by the time ordinary law is set into motion, the person having dangerous designs, would execute his plans, exposing general public to risk and causing colossal damage to life and property. It is, for that reason, necessary to take preventive measures and prevent the person bent upon to perpetrate mischief from translating his ideas into action.” 

Referring to the J&K Public Safety Act 1978, the court said that it is designed to prevent all these acts that are prejudicial to security of the State or maintenance of public order. 

“The acts, indulged in by persons, who act in concert with other persons and quite often such activity has national level ramifications. These acts are preceded by a good amount of planning and organisation by the set of people fascinated in tumultuousness. They are not like ordinary law and order crimes. If, however, in any given case a single act is found to be not sufficient to sustain the order of detention that may well be quashed, but it cannot be stated as a principle that one single act cannot constitute the basis for detention. On the contrary, it does,” the court said and dismissed Bhat’s plea.  

On February 23 this year, the high court, while upholding acquittal order by Sessions Court Budgam had ordered Gulzar’s release from custody forthwith if not required in any other case.  

The case (FIR 40/2015) was filed by police after four girls studying at Peer’s seminary at Shamasabad village had complained on May 19, 2013 that the accused has been raping them after calling them to his chamber on the pretext of religious teachings.

The girls said while committing the crime, Peer would raise the volume of a tape recorder to drown their cries. They also alleged that he would render them unconscious by casting “magical spells” on them.

A special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted by police filed charge sheet against Gulzar for commission of offence under RPC section 376 (rape). On 12 February 2015, Gulzar and other accused were acquitted by the Sessions Court Budgam, observing that prosecution failed to prove the guilt against them.

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