‘Very Disturbing Scenario’: HC Raps Govt Over Non-Release Of PSA Detainee

J&K High Court | File Photo

Directs Personal Appearance Of DC Baramulla; Says ‘Rule Of Law Meant To Govern And Is Governing This Country Irrespective Of Place Or Region’

By M Ahmad

Srinagar- The High Court of J&K and Ladakh has termed as “very disturbing scenario” the non-release of a detainee whose detention order under Public Safety Act was quashed by it last year and ordered Deputy Commissioner Baramulla to be personally present before it and also produce the detainee before it next week.

Hearing a petition filed by one Muzamil Manzoor War through his father, a bench Justice Rahul Bharti observed that the “rule of Law is meant to govern and is governing this Country irrespective of place or region.”

In the plea, Waseem contends that despite quashment of his preventive detention by the court on 11 February 2022, he has not yet been released and his liberty from “illegal confinement at the hands” of the officials continues.

“Through this writ petition, a very disturbing scenario has been presented before this Court which cannot be left to be dealt with in a routine manner except at the cost of undermining the Rule of Law which is meant to govern and is governing this Country irrespective of place or region,” the court said, adding, “A perusal of this Court’s order dated 11.02.2022 reveals that the preventive detention order dated 17.08.2022 passed by the District Magistrate, Baramulla under Section 8(a) of the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978 with respect to the petitioner’s preventive detention came to be quashed by holding the very said order suffering from non-application of mind on the part of the District Magistrate, Baramulla.”

The quashment of the preventive detention order, the court said, earned a consequent direction from the Court unto the authorities to release Waseem forthwith if not required in any other case.

“In terms and furtherance of the detention order, the detention place of the petitioner was first in District Jail Jammu, and then to Central Jail, Agra where he is reported to be still in detention notwithstanding the quashment of the detention order in terms of the order of this Court,” the Bench said.

Through this writ petition, the court said, “the petitioner is begging for his release and also for compensation for his continuing illegal custody amounting to wrongful confinement.”

“A prima facie case is made out of serious violation of the fundamental right of the petitioner as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India,” the court said and issued notice to the District Magistrate, Baramulla.

“In the meantime, the District Magistrate, Baramulla is directed to produce the person of the petitioner (Waseem) before this Court on the next date of hearing on which date the District Magistrate, Baramulla, shall also remain present in person,” the court said and ordered listing of the petition on May 29.

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