Procedural Safeguards Mandatory In Preventive Detention: HC

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Srinagar—Meticulous compliance with the procedural safeguards is mandatory and vital, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has observed while quashing a detention order under Public Safety Act of a youth from Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“To prevent misuse of this potentially dangerous power the law of preventive detention has to be strictly construed and meticulous compliance with the procedural safeguards, however, technical, is, in our opinion, mandatory and vital,” a bench of Justice M K Hanjura said while referring to a judgment by Supreme Court.

The procedural safeguards are required to be zealously watched and enforced by the Court and their rigor cannot be allowed to be diluted on the basis of the nature of alleged activities of the (detainee),” the court said and quashed detention order (No. 33/DMB/PSA/2017) passed by the District Magistrate, Baramulla on 19 May last year against Mohammad Lateef Sheikh son of Hidayatullah Sheikh of Kamalkote Madiyan, Uri in Baramulla. The court further directed that Sheikh be released forthwith from the preventive custody, unless required in any other case.

Sheikh through his counsel Shah Ashiq had challenged the PSA detention on varied grounds.

Advocate Shah said that on 04 April 2017, Sheikh was arrested by the forces in connection with a case bearing F.I.R No. 15/2017, registered at Police Station, Uri, u/s 7/25 Arms Act.

“While (Sheikh) was in the District Jail Baramulla under the judicial remand, he was detained by the– District Magistrate, Baramulla under PSA and ordered him to be lodged in Central Jail, Kotebhalwal Jammu.

“The grounds of detention along with the contents of the detention warrant are to have been read over to (Sheikh) in English language and explained to him in the Pahari & urdu languages, the languages which he understood fully well,” he said, adding, “(Sheikh) could not have been detained under the provisions of PSA when he was already booked in substantive offence and was in the custody of the respondents when the order of detention was passed and no bail was granted to him, although he had applied for it.”

He said that the grounds of detention were vague and non-existent. “The detaining authority has not perused the relevant material before passing the order of detention and as such the same is liable to be quashed.”

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