SC asks Centre to explain basis for detention of J&K Bar Association President






The Supreme Court on Wednesday took into note that the order for the detention of senior advocate and Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom has expired and asked the Central government to explain the basis of his detention.

A bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul posted the matter for further hearing on July 23 and asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta on what basis the Centre seeks to continue the detention.

The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Qayoom challenging the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order upholding his detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

During the hearing, the Solicitor General said that he has not received a copy of the plea.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Qayoom, submitted before that court that the petition copy has been served to the Solicitor General and the detention order was for one year and the said period has passed.

The advocate added that Qayoom is over 73 years old and this detention order was for a limited period. The petition was kept pending three months and Qayoom had been illegally detained, Dave claimed.

To this, Justice Kaul told Mehta that the detention period has expired and Qayoom’s ideology remains the same. “These are COVID-19 times and he is 73. With the period of detention expired, please look into this Solicitor General,” the bench said.

Tushar Mehta said that there is an issue with his ideology going against the national interest and sought ten days’ time from the court to respond on the issue.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had, on May 29, set aside Qayoom’s habeas corpus plea and upheld his detention under the Public Safety Act. The High Court had, in its order, accepted the argument that the Qayoom should “declare and establish” by his conduct that he has “shunned his separatist ideology”.

The High Court, in its order, had also referred to the argument of Advocate General DC Raina that the “ideology nourished and nurtured by the detainee cannot be confined or limited to time to qualify it to be called stale or fresh, unless the person concerned declares and establishes by conduct, and expression that he has shunned the ideology.”

Qayoom was one of the many people who had been detained in August 2019 after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

His plea in the Supreme Court said that when he was detained, he was taken to the prison in Agra without prior intimation, and was kept in solitary confinement during this time. The plea said that his detention order was upheld on the basis of four FIRs registered against Qayoom between 2008 and 2010.

“FIRs are stale, irrelevant and have no proximate, pertinent or live link to the present, and are thus superfluous and extraneous to the satisfaction required in law qua the tendency or propensity to act in a manner prejudicial to public order,” the plea said.

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