High Court quashes PSA detention of Jamaat-e-Islami spokesman

The High Court Thursday quashed the detention of Jamaat-e-Islami spokesman Zahid Ali who was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in June last year.

Quashing the detention order dated 29th September 2020 passed by the District Magistrate Pulwama, the court directed the authorities to release Ali from preventive detention forthwith, if not required in any other case.

The court held that the grounds of detention on the basis of which the Jammat spokesman had been placed under preventive detention in terms of the order were stale.

The court said that both the orders on the basis of which the detainee was detained twice earlier were quashed by the court.

“There was thus no fresh material available against the detainee that would justify his further detention in preventive custody,” the court said allowing the petition by Ali.

Observing that the detainee had earlier remained under detention twice, the court said that the first order of detention was quashed by it on 11th August 2019.

The court held that all the activities to which references were made in the grounds of detention, were the activities attributed to the detainee in the aforesaid detention order.

“There is thus no new activity attributed to the detainee that would necessitate passing of order of detention,” it said.

The court said that similarly the position when the second detention order was slapped on the detainee was quashed by it vide order dated 3rd March 2020 as well.

“In view of the two detention orders issued by the detaining authority and their quashment by this court, there was hardly any need to place the detainee under preventive detention, yet again on the same set of grounds,” the court said.

The court said that the detaining authority, in the grounds of detention served upon the detainee, had not indicated any fresh material, necessitating the passing of fresh order of detention, except that the organisation Jamat-e-Islami, of which the detainee was allegedly a spokesman was now banned by the state.

“As is rightly contended on behalf of the detainee, the detainee was in the custody of the state when the organisation, Jamat-e-Islami, was banned and continues to be so as on date. That being so, the banning of the organisation cannot be said to be a ground for detaining the detainee,” it said. “There was thus no fresh material available against the detainee which would justify his further detention in the preventive custody. The factual averments made by the detainee in his petition have not been denied by the respondents.”

Ali was arrested by J&K Police on June 30 last year from his residence in Nehama, Pulwama and was subsequently detained at Police Station Kakapora. Later on, he was moved to Central Jail Srinagar.

He was earlier also detained on 22nd March 22 2019, a week before the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) banned the outfit for “involving in subversive and militant related activities” in J&K. He was later released on 11th April 2020 after his multiple PSAs were quashed by the court.

The detainee was represented by counsel Salih Pirzada.