SOURCE: INDIA TODAY
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition challenging the detention of Kashmir Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom under the Public Safety Act (PSA). However, in a significant development, the virtual court allowed for a separate application that empowered a high powered committee to consider the release of detainee in wake of Covid-19.
The HC bench, comprised of Justice AM Magrey and Justice VC Koul, gave an option to the detainee to consider if he chooses to file a motion assuring the authorities that he has shunned his separatist ideology. Further, the court has asked the opinion of the government based on the conduct of Mian Abdul Qayoom.
Qayoom, 76, was detained on August 5 last year, the day the Centre announced the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35 A and has since remained under detention. He was shifted to a jail in Agra, where his health deteriorated. He was subsequently brought to Delhi’s Tihar Jail.
Qayoom’s petition said that the grounds of detention were vague and ambiguous, that the charges leveled against him were stale.
He made a plea that he was also taken into preventive detention under provisions of PSA in 2010 over the very same four FIRs registered in 2009 and 2010.
The grounds of detention, however, referred to a district magistrate’s statement that Qayoom had a long and adverse record in various cases. He, over a period, emerged as one of the most staunch advocates of secessionist ideology, the statement said,
The court document said that he used to propagate secessionist ideology by using his platform for sponsoring strikes. His role was prejudicial to maintenance of law and order situation in 2008 land row and post the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani in 2016, it said,
The attorney general stated that the competent authority is within its discretion to consider the said representation and pass appropriate orders on it. The court stated that Qayoom’s application should be considered if he shuns his separatist ideology.
The attorney general said that “ideology cannot be confined or limited to be called stale or fresh or proximate unless a person declares and establishes by conduct and expression that he has shunned the ideology.”
The court finally left it to the competent authority to take a decision on any such representation if made by the detainee.