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JKHC quashes detention of noted cleric

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed the detention order of noted Islamic cleric, Abdul Majeed Dar, popularly known as Al-Madni and ordered his release.

Madni argued that his dossier, which had become the basis of his detention, was influenced by a “sponsoring agency” and lacked independent judgment.

In his defence, Madni also argued that the impugned order passed in 2022 was based on a FIR lodged back in 2011 in which he was already acquitted in the year 2020.

He also stated that he was denied effective representation, which amounted to infringing his constitutional and statutory rights guaranteed under Article 22(5) of the Constitution and Section 13 of the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act.

In response, the prosecution argued that all statutory requirements and constitutional guarantees had been fulfilled and complied with during the detention process.

“Perusal of the record tends to show that the grounds of detention bear reference to FIR (supra) in which the detenu is stated to have been acquitted. There is nothing stated in the reply filed by the respondent no. 2 regarding the acquittal of the detenu in the said FIR reflecting complete unawareness of the respondents,” Justice Javed Iqbal Wani said.

He emphasised that an order for preventive detention against a person already in custody must be supported by compelling reasons.

The court said that the detaining authority had failed to express any compelling reason for the detention, giving the reference of case of Surya Prakash Sharma v. State of U.P and Others, reported in 1994 and observed, “Perusal of the grounds of detention/order of detention would manifestly reveal that the detaining authority has not drawn any satisfaction as per the mandate laid down by the Apex Court in the case of Surya Parkash Sharma (supra), while passing the impugned detention order against the detenu and in fact has failed to express any compelling reason thereof. The impugned order, thus, in law, does not sustain on this count alone”.

The court also pointed out that the grounds of detention were identical to the police dossier, indicating a lack of independent application of mind by the detaining authority.

“In law, it is the detaining authority, which has to go through the reports and other inputs received from concerned police and other agencies and on such perusal draw subjective satisfaction that a person is to be placed under preventive detention. It is, thus, for the detaining authority to formulate the grounds of detention and satisfy itself that the grounds of detention so formulated warrant passing of the order of preventive detention,” Justice Wani recorded.

With the observations against passing of detention order by the retaining authority without substantial basis; the court quashed the detention order and directed the authorities to release Madni unless required in any other case.

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