Will release HC bar leader Qayoom detained under PSA: J&K admin tells SC

Last Updated 29 July 2020, 10:40 IST

The Jammu and Kashmir administration informed the Supreme Court Wednesday that it has decided to release forthwith the high court bar association leader Mian Abdul Qayoom, detained under the J&K Public Safety Act with certain conditions.

It told the top court that Qayoom would be released with the conditions that he would not visit Kashmir till August 7, the day his current detention is coming to an end and would not issue any statements.

Qayoom was detained following the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.

A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Ajay Rastogi and Aniruddha Bose took the statements of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the J-K administration, on record and ordered his release with certain conditions.

Mehta said the administration has decided to release Qayoom, nine days ahead of his current detention coming to an end on August 7 but he will have to remain in Delhi till then.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Qayoom, suggested that it would be better, if he is released on Thursday at the time when his family members are there to receive him.

Mehta agreed to the submission.

On July 27, the UT administration has told the top court that it will not extend the current detention of high court bar leader beyond August 7.

The top court had then asked J-K administration to apprise it by July 29 as to why Qayoom cannot be released on bail till August 7, the day his current detention period expires with certain conditions.

“We can release him on bail with some conditions like he would not visit Jammu and Kashmir and he will not make any statements,” the top court had said.

On July 23, the J-K administration has informed the top court that the issue of Qayoom's detention was under consideration and a decision will soon be taken in the matter.

It had said that the court need not go into the merit of the case as the competent authority will soon decide it and sought some time to take instructions on the issue.

On July 15, the top court had asked the J-K administration to explain the basis for detaining Qayoom who has challenged his detention under the (PSA) since August 7 last year.

The top court had asked it to take into consideration various aspects including Qayoom's age, expiry of detention period and the Covid-19 pandemic.

On June 26, the top court had issued notice to the J-K administration and sought its reply on Qayoom's plea challenging his detention order.

Qayoom has also sought a direction to shift him from Tihar jail here to central jail in Srinagar on medical ground.

He has challenged the May 28 order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court rejecting his plea against his prolonged “illegal detention” under the PSA in jails outside the UT.

He said he is a Senior Advocate with more than 40 years’ standing at the Bar and has served as President of the J&K High Court Bar Association for many terms, including from 2014 till the present day.

Qayoom said he was detained on the intervening night of August 4 and 5, 2019, under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Code of Criminal Procedure and thereafter, an order of detention under the PSA was passed against him on August 7, 2019.

He said that on August 8 he was taken to Central Jail, Agra, Uttar Pradesh, without any prior notice of intimation, where he was kept in solitary confinement. He said the high court's May 28 order is ex facie unsustainable in law as it is premised on "stale, irrelevant, remote, vague, imprecise and deficient" grounds of detention.

“The impugned judgment and order concluded that most of the grounds in the detention order “are somewhat clumsy” which implies that the High Court too found them wanting.

Placing reliance on the doctrine of severability as enunciated by this Court in Gautam Jain versus Union of India...the High Court then proceeds to uphold the detention order solely on one ground,” his appeal said.

He said the high court makes it abundantly clear that the detention order has been upheld solely on one ground -- the four FIRs dating back to 2008 and 2010, as enumerated in the detention order.

Qayoom said he had already been detained in 2010 on the basis of the said FIRs under the PSA, and the said detention was subsequently revoked.

“Thus, the same FIRs cannot be used to pass another order of detention under the PSA, as held by this Hon’ble Court...,” his plea said.

Qayoom said he is suffering from serious health ailments and is at a high-risk vulnerability for Covid-19 due to his co-morbid conditions.

(Published 29 July 2020, 10:32 IST)

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