Will JK legislature vote for PSA amendment?
Private Member’s Bill To Be Discussed On Mar 28
Srinagar, Mar 23: At a time when call for repealing the controversial Public Safety Act in Jammu and Kashmir is growing louder with international rights watchdog, Amnesty International, joining the chorus, the state legislature would discuss a Bill seeking amendments to the Act which empowers authorities to detain a person without trial for 2 years.
Senior CPI-M leader and Member of Legislative Assembly, MY Tarigami, has brought a private member’s Bill in the state Assembly seeking that the law which is in force since 1978 should be re-visited and harsh clauses must be done away with.
“The Bill- J&K Public Safety (Amendment) Act, 2011- has been admitted in the Assembly and it will be put to vote in coming few days. The Act needs to be revoked or at least it should be amended whereby certain clauses which are harsh in nature be removed. The law is being grossly misused and there is no legal protection to the detainees arrested under it,” said Tarigami.
The Bill is coming up for discussion in the House on March 28, Tarigami said.
The Bill proposes that the minimum detention period of a person under the Act from 12 months to 2 years without trial should be reduced to 3 months and 6 months respectively. Presently the law allows the authorities to detain a person up to two years without charge or trial if he or she is deemed a threat to the state.
The Bill proposes that following revocation or quashment of the detention order by the High Court, the detainee shall be released forthwith and handed over to the family members. Human right activists and lawyers have been arguing that in many cases the quashment orders issued by the courts are not honoured by the state Government and in some cases the detainee is re-arrested following quashment of his/her PSA.
“The detainee shall be allowed to challenge the PSA order within one week after its issuance and the detention order should lapse if not executed within a week,” the Bill proposes.
It mentions that no detention order should be issued on a ground which is subject matter of investigation or trial and the authority concerned should communicate to the detainee the grounds on which the order has been passed in not more than 10 days so as to allow him/her to respond to it.
“In no case the detention period shall be fixed before the opinion of Advisory Board by detaining authority or by the Government.”
Coming down heavily on state Government and Government of India for repeated use of PSA, the AI in its report released here on Monday said the Act should be revoked. The Amnesty report- the first on Jammu and Kashmir since 2000 - has termed the PSA a ‘lawless law’, documenting how the authorities were using the PSA to detain people for years without trial “depriving them of basic human rights.”
The New Delhi-appointed interlocutors on Kashmir have been reiterating that the law must be reviewed, calling for the state legislature to discuss the proposal seriously.
“The provisions of the Act have been misused by invoking the same on the grounds which are vague, stale and non-existent. The Act is preventive in nature but in substance it acts as penal in nature in view of its effect over the detainee. Once a person is deprived of his life and liberty it should be done with utmost care and caution, invoking the provisions of Public Safety Act as an exception,” the Bill mentions.
The CPI-M leader has sought that once a detainee is taken into custody he/she should be informed about the cases lodged against him in any police station in the state.
“What is happening at present is that once a court quashes the PSA of a person, the authorities come up with the reports that the detainee is required in another case registered in a different police station. This process ultimately leads to delay in release of a person,” Tarigami said.
Previously called as Preventive Detention Act, the PSA was constituted during the regime of the then chief minister and founder of National Conference, Sheikh Abdullah.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 23 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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