High Court seeks response to plea challenging detention of Shia cleric

J&K High Court has directed the government to respond to a plea, challenging the house detention of top Shia cleric, Aga Syed Hassan.

A bench of Justice Tashi Rabstan after hearing petitioner’s counsel Sheikh Manzoor, issued notice to the government for filing objections by September 29. Senior additional advocate general BA Dar accepted notice on behalf of the government.

Advocate Manzoor on behalf of the petitioner submitted before the Court that the 70-year-old cleric was suffering from multiple ailments and was under “illegal detention” at his house in Budgam since August 5 last year when Article 370 was abrogated.

“The petitioner is not being allowed to move out of his residence as a large contingent of forces has been deployed at his residence and his movement and liberty has been curtailed in an arbitrary manner” he said.

The counsel submitted that the ailing petitioner was not being allowed to consult doctors for his medical check-up which has resulted in deterioration of his health condition.

“The detenue being a Shia leader has not been even allowed to participate in religious functions, funeral and burial of his kin,” the counsel said. “It is not only unwarranted but also unconstitutional”

The counsel submitted that the petitioner has recently tested positive for coronavirus and was under quarantine. While the counsel pointed out that the petitioner has now tested negative and wants a specialized treatment in Delhi, he said due to restrictions imposed upon him, he was unable to move out of his residence.

The counsel pleaded that the petitioner never indulged in any activity prejudicial to the security and integrity of state. The petitioner prayed that the respondents may be directed to pay compensation of 50 lakh to him, as they have “violated principles of natural justice and the provisions of the safeguard provided in terms of Article 22 of the Constitution by keeping him under illegal detention since August 5, 2019.”

The respondents, he said, may be directed to produce him before the Court and set free.