The High court on Thursday dismissed self styled 'faith-healer' Gulzar Ahmad Bhat alias Gulzar 'Peer's' plea against his detention under public safety act (PSA).
Bhat who was arrested by police in May 2013 on charges of "raping" girls on the pretext of "purifying their soul" was acquitted by a Budgam court in February 2015 with the observation that "the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt against the accused persons including peer.
The acquittal had triggered widespread resentment in Kashmir and fearing law and order disruption, police had taken 'Peer' into preventive custody.
A bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan today dismissed petition by Peer against his detention order of March 8, 2017 issued by District Magistrate Budgam under PSA. "The grounds of detention are definite, proximate and free from any ambiguity," the court ruled.
The bench observed: "It is the obligation of the court to constantly remind itself the right of society is never maltreated or marginalized by the doings of an individual or set of individuals propagate and carry out".
"If anyone flouts law, he has to face the ire of law, contingent on the concept of proportionality that the law recognizes. It can never be forgotten that the purpose of criminal law legislated by the competent legislatures, subject to judicial scrutiny within constitutionally established parameters, is to protect the collective interest and save every individual that forms a constituent of the collective from unwarranted hazards," the court said.
Personal liberty, the court said, is one of the most cherished freedoms, perhaps more important than the other freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution.
"It was for this reason that the Founding Fathers enacted the safeguards in Article 22 in the Constitution so as to limit the power of the State to detain a person without trial, which may otherwise pass the test of Article 21, by humanising the harsh authority over individual liberty".
Underscoring that an order of preventive detention may be made with or without prosecution and in anticipation or after discharge or even acquittal, the court said the pendency of prosecution is no bar to an order of preventive detention and an order of preventive detention is also not a bar to prosecution.
On the submission by the counsel of detainee that detaining authority should not make use of one of the FIRs, in which detenu was acquitted, the court observed that discharge or acquittal of a person will not preclude detaining authority from issuing a detention order.
"Every right-thinking citizen is duty bound to show esteem to law for having an orderly, civilized and peaceful society. It has to be kept in mind that law is antagonistic to any type of disarray. It is completely intolerant of anarchy".
If anyone, the court said, flouts law, he has to face the ire of law, contingent on the concept of proportionality that the law recognizes.
"It can never be forgotten that the purpose of criminal law legislated by the competent legislatures, subject to judicial scrutiny within constitutionally established parameters, is to protect the collective interest and save every individual that forms a constituent of the collective from unwarranted hazards," the court added.
Bhat was arrested in central Kashmir's Budgam district in May 2013 after police received a complaint from at least four minor girls alleging that they have been repeatedly sexually-exploited during their stay at an institute run by Bhat.
On May 19, 2013, some girls who were undergoing studies in an institute run by Gulzar lodged a written complaint with Police Budgam alleging they were sexually exploited by the self-styled faith-healer.
Subsequently, the police registered a case FIR No. 40/13 U/S 376/RPC in Police Station Khansahib.