Rashid Paul

HC directs HPC to look into the aspect of release of detenues kept under PSA

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Srinagar 04 April: The High Court on Saturday directed the government constituted High Powered Committee to look into the aspect of the release of hundreds of Kashmiri detenues kept in preventive custody under Public Safety Act (PSA) in different jails amid the Corona virus pandemic.

“The High Powered Committee shall keep in view the urgency of the entire matter”, directed the court.

The direction followed advocate Salih Pirzada’s plea that the High Powered Committee of J&K administration has overlooked the aspect of detenues who have been detained under PSA.

Advocate Pirzada told the court that the order of the Supreme Court makes a reference only to prisoners without specifying the provision of law under which they may have been imprisoned.

The court asked the lawyer to place his points by e-mail to M K Sharma the government attorney. “Sharma should place it (the points) before the High Powered Committee for urgent examination and dealing with the issues pointed out”, directed the court through video conferencing.

On the issue of release of under trial and convicted prisoners the court directed “let the Rules be urgently implemented and steps for grant of special parole to prisoners as is envisaged therein be taken on priority”.

It also directed all the Principal Districts and Sessions Judges in J&K to “ensure that the orders of this High Powered Committee are complied with forthwith and compliance report shall be sent before the next date of hearing. A summary of the action report also shall be placed before us by M K Sharma, Member Secretary by the next date”.

The concerned Principal Districts and Sessions Judges shall ensure that all visiting judges in the Jail and the concerned courts take immediate action based on the recommendation of the Committee in its orders dated 1st April 2020.

The Assistant Solicitor General of India however submitted that there are certain specific offences like those under investigation or investigated by the Enforcement Directorate, which require special consideration.

The court also directed the authorities to make the representatives of health care professionals including those of the resident doctors, faculty members, nurses and safai karamcharis in the discussions and decision making towards addressing the current crisis of Covid 19 pandemic management.

The personnel engaged in the treatment of COVID-19 patients and prevention of the infection would be working beyond the call of their routine duties and also overtime.

The administration may consider the possibility of running 24 hours canteens and kitchens in all hospitals and health institutions to enable provision of the necessities of the healthcare and other personnel engaged in addressing the COVID-19 issues, said the court.

Responsible NGOs and citizen volunteers could be joined for regulating these facilities, it added.

The Secretary, Department of Health and Medical Education has been directed to look into the matter and submit a report.

The court said that the management of the current situation requires the health care workers and doctors to be out of homes way beyond normal eight hour duty routines with most of them having family responsibilities and dependents.

“A network of persons who would attend to the needs of the family members and dependents of all personnel attending to COVID-19 issues be created”, directed the court.

The court also asked the authorities to prepare the public about the permissible conduct upon removal of the restrictions on April 14.


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