PSA detainees can now be jailed outside Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu & Kashmir government has done away with a legal provision that prohibited it from lodging state subject residents detained under Public Safety Act in jails outside the state, to make way for sending them to prisons far away from their families.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) has cleared a proposal to delete a provision in the PSA that barred authorities from lodging J&K residents in outside state jails.
In its 3rd meeting held on July 11, the SAC recommended deletion of the proviso to Section 10 of the J&K Public Safety Act, described by rights watchdog Amnesty International as a revolving door "lawless law".
"Provided that the detenues who are permanent residents of the state shall not be lodged in jails outside the state," reads the proviso which was deleted by the SAC. The amendment has come into force from July 13 after receiving assent from Raj Bhavan.
Repeated attempts to seek J&K government's comment about necessity were not successful.
Principal secretary Home department Raj Kumar Goyal was approached thrice over phone for his comments, but each time he said that he was busy.
The PSA is a law that allows detention without trial for a minimum of three months which can be further extended to six months and one year subsequently.
In the past 26 years, thousands of civilians and militants have been incarcerated under the controversial law.
During the 2016 unrest, the previous PDP-BJP booked more than 500 protesters and activists of separatist groups under the controversial law.
The government claims the amendment to PSA was approved to improve the jail system.
The SAC approved the Bill entitled "The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety (Amendment) Bill, 2018", contemplating massive up-gradation of infrastructure, particularly for improving the living conditions of the jail inmates.
"In this context, reference was made to a Public Interest Litigation, pending before the Supreme Court of India regarding inhuman conditions in 1382 prisons and relating to various reformative measures for Prisons," a government statement issued on July 11 said.
It further states that the Apex Court has, from time to time, passed several directions to the Union and the State Governments vis-à-vis the overcrowding of prisons, inadequacy of staff and poor living conditions for the inmates.
Taking note of the directions passed by the Supreme Court, the government statement said the SAC emphasised the need for massive up-gradation of jails at Jammu, Udhampur, Anantnag, Kupwara and Central Jail Srinagar.