Shifting Detenues To Outside Jails: SC Transfers Petition To J&K HC

New Delhi– The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court a plea alleging that over 20 people detained under the public safety law have been shifted out of the union territory prisons to jails in various states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala said since the high court is seized of pleas challenging the 2018 amendments made in the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act of 1978, it will be appropriate if the present petition is heard there only.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the union territory, said the family members are being provided the facility of meeting the detenues lodged in jails in other states and it has been an accepted practice.

While transferring the plea filed by Raja Begum and other relatives of detenues to the high court, the bench asked the Chief Justice of the high court to hear the petition expeditiously and gave liberty to senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, to mention it there.

“It is needless to mention here that the high court will deal with the petition as per the orders of this court,” it said.

Earlier, the top court on November 4, last year had sought responses from the Centre, the Jammu and Kashmir government and others on the plea alleging several persons, detained under public safety law, have been shifted out of the union territory prisons to jails in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Gonsalves, appearing for the relatives of the detenues, had said that they have been shifted out of jails in Jammu and Kashmir thus depriving their relatives the opportunity to meet them.

He had said the people, detained under the local law, cannot be moved out of the Union territory as the statute was applicable to the Union territory only.

The detenues are in preventive detention under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.

The plea was filed by a woman named Raja Begum and three others. One of the denouements, Arif Ahmad Sheikh, son of Begum, a resident of Parimpora in Srinagar, was shifted to the central Jail in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

He was detained under the PSA on April 7, 2022.

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