Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed a 2017 order of detention of separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat, but he will continue to remain behind bars in connection with a militancy financing case.
In the 2017 militancy funding case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a charge sheet against Bhat, currently lodged in Tihar Jail in Delhi.
A division bench of Justices Saneev Kumar and Rajnesh Oswal issued the direction to the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Tuesday after noticing that Bhat’s detention order of 2017 under the Public Safety Act had outlived its life and the writ petition has become infructuous.
The court directed the administration to release him forthwith, if his custody was not required in any other case.
The single bench while pointing out that preventive detention is devised to afford protection to society had observed that the object was not to punish a man for having done something but to intercept before he does it and to prevent him from doing.
In his petition before the single bench, Bhat had submitted that “the authorities were relentlessly passing detention orders on the grounds that run afoul of the Constitution and the safeguards inbuilt in the preventive detention statute on the routine basis in blatant violation of the court orders”.
Bhat, who is the chairman of separatist outfit Muslim League, had challenged a judgment of a single bench which had dismissed his plea against his 36th preventive detention order dated November 14, 2017, issued by the District Magistrate of Kupwara.
Arrested in 2010, Bhat was charged by the NIA in October last year and it was alleged that he was the ring leader of stone pelters and actively coordinated their action in rallies in 2010.
Bhat was released from jail in 2015 immediately after the PDP-BJP alliance took over the reins of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Having over two dozen cases pending against him, Bhat was again arrested on April 17, 2015 after he raised anti-India slogans.
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