The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has, since last month, quashed detention orders of at least five persons under the Public Safety Act because their fundamental rights were found to have been violated, The Indian Express reported on Thursday. The court found that the administration had not communicated to the detenues the grounds of their detention, as is required under the Article 22(5) of the Constitution.
The verdicts came in habeas corpus petitions filed against the detentions, after which the persons were ordered to be released. The detentions took place in the weeks following August 5, when the Centre revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The state has since been bifurcated into two Union Territories.
“The only precious and valuable right guaranteed to a detenu is of making an effective representation against the order of detention,” the court said while quashing the detention orders. “Such an effective representation can only be made by a detenu when he is supplied the relevant grounds of detention, including the materials considered by the detaining authority for arriving at the requisite subjective satisfaction to pass the detention order. Since the material is not supplied to the detenu, the right of the detenu to file such representation is impinged upon and the detention order is resultantly vitiated.”
The court is hearing over 300 such petitions filed by those detained in the region since August 5.
In September, the Jammu and Kashmir home department had claimed to have revoked the Public Safety Act against three detenues after their detentions were challenged in the state High Court, The Indian Express had reported earlier.
Over a thousand people, including political leaders, separatists and activists were detained after the Centre’s August 5 order. Three former chief ministers of the state – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti – were also first put under house arrest and then detained. Farooq Abdullah was charged under the “public order” section of the Public Safety Act, which allows authorities to detain a person for six months without trial.
Last week, Farooq Abdullah’s detention was extended by three months.