The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that the detention order of Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom will not be extended when it ends on August 6, reported Bar and Bench. Qayoom was among several people detained when the Centre revoked the erstwhile state’s special status and split the region into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh in August.

The bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Paul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose took up Qayoom’s petition against his detention.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, made the submission that the detention will not be extended. To this, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, on behalf of Qayoom, said the bar association president’s fundamental rights were being violated with this “illegal detention”.

Dave and counsel Vrinda Grover contended that Qayoom should be released now especially since the Centre has decided not to extend his detention order. The Supreme Court bench then asked Mehta to consider releasing him on bail for the rest of the detention period.

The top court said that it was trying to figure out a “workable arrangement”, reported ThePrint. “The government may have some apprehensions to release him due to the approaching date,” the court said. “Are you willing to release him if he doesn’t go there [Jammu and Kashmir] till the seventh, agrees to stay in Delhi and not release any statements?”

Following this, the proceedings were adjourned till July 29.

Qayoom’s petition challenged the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s May order dismissing his plea against his detention under the Public Safety Act. Under the Act, a person may be detained without trial for three to six years.

The bar association president is currently lodged in Tihar Jail in New Delhi, after first being held in a prison in Agra. On May 28, the High Court set aside his plea against his detention, asking Qayoom to “declare and establish” by his conduct that he has “shunned his separatist ideology”.

The petition before the Supreme Court alleged that when Qayoom was arrested last year, he was taken to the prison in Agra without prior intimation and kept in solitary confinement. It added that the High Court upheld Qayoom’s detention based on first information reports filed against him in 2008 and 2010.

The petition also claimed that Qayoom was neither chargesheeted nor arrested in connection with the FIRs at the time. He was simply detained under the PSA and his detention was later revoked. Therefore, the plea argued, the lawyer cannot be detained under the Act once again using the same FIRs.

Qayoom’s plea also said that the High Court had agreed that the grounds for the lawyer’s detention were “somewhat clumsy”, yet it upheld the detention.

Detentions under the Public Safety Act

Many Kashmiri politicians were also detained under the Act when India revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was released from detention on March 24. After his release, Abdullah demanded the release of other Kashmiri politicians, including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Abdullah’s release order came less than a week after the Supreme Court asked the Centre to clarify on its intention to release him from detention.

The administration had released Abdullah’s father on March 13. Farooq Abdullah was detained at his residence in Gupkar Road in Srinagar.

Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti still remains in detention. On June 8, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea by Congress leader Saifuddin Soz’s wife, challenging his house arrest since August 5.

The administration, however, released Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhtar on June 18. The previous day, the administration released National Conference leader and former minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, after the High Court set aside his detention.