Rashid Paul

HC declines to hear Miyan Qayoom’s plea seeking temporary release

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“… this court is concerned with public interest issues and not with any issue involving an individual case”

Srinagar: The High Court today declined to hear the plea of Miyan Abdul Qayom, president J&K lawyers association seeking temporary release from Tihar Jail Delhi where he is lodged under the preventive detention law, Public Safety Act (PSA).

Qayoom was among hundreds of people detained under PSA after the government of India abrogated Article 370 and divided J&K state into two Union Territories.

“It needs no elaboration that in the present proceedings this court is concerned with public interest issues and not with any issue involving an individual case”, observed a bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal.

Qayoom’s wife Azra Ismail through counsels Z. A. Qureshi and Main Tuffail had pleaded “the respondents (J&K administration) have not complied with the directions made by the Court in paras 30 and 31 of the order dated 22nd April 2020”.

The Government was required to consider the case of the applicant under Sections 19 and 20 of the Public Safety Act, 1978 for temporary release from detention, the petitioner pleaded.

In response B. A. Dar senior advocate general of J&K filed a reply from the Home Department stating “the respondents have complied with the observations made by this Court in paras 30 and 31 of the order dated 22nd April 2020”.

He further told the court “the High Powered Committee constituted by J&K has taken a view that the release of a PSA detenu is not covered in the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court of India and therefore the request of the applicant for release cannot be considered by it”.

The legal essence of the Supreme Court order is that the prisoners lodged in jails be released in view of the deadly COVID 19 infections and definitely includes the hundreds of Kashmiri detenues languishing in different jails across India, Qureshi later told this news paper.

The 75 year old Qayoom was brought before the court through video conferencing where he requested through his lawyers that (in the alternative), his detention be held for consideration at his Shaheen Bagh New Delhi residence, where his daughters and wife are staying put.

Qayoom according to his lawyers is suffering from many chronic ailments and is susceptible to coronavirus infection in jail.

The state attorney however said that the authorities have taken a view that the lodgment of the applicant in the jail is conducive and convenient for him as compared to other places in view of the ailments by which he is suffering from.

The detenues lawyers submitted that order of the respondents is contrary to the provisions of Sections 19 and 20 of the PSA.

“It was only because of the apprehensions expressed about the fragile medical condition of the husband of the applicant, the imminence of Ramzan, the risk on account of COVID-19, that his issues were taken up as an exception in the public interest petition on corona pandemic”, the bench said.

“Therefore, it is not open to this court to examine the objections pressed by Z A Qureshi to the correctness of orders passed against the applicant. It is open to the applicants to raise these issues in appropriate legal proceedings”, it added.

The court directed that copies of the proceedings about the detenue be sent to Registrar Judicial Srinagar where his appeal is listed on 4th May 2020.

Earlier the Tihar Jail superintendent told the court that the ailing detenue is being provided all the medical and dietary facilities.

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