Crescent Kashmir

Won’t extend Kashmir Bar Association chief Abdul Qayoom’s detention beyond Aug 6, government tells SC

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The government on Monday told the Supreme Court that Kashmir Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom’s detention would not be extended beyond August 6 even as his lawyers demanded his immediate release.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed a Bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul that Qayoom’s current detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) was due to expire on August 6 and the government would not extend it.

Terming his detention as illegal, senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate Vrinda Grover, representing Qayoom, demanded his immediate release, contending his fundamental rights were being violated.

The top court asked Mehta to seek instructions as to if Qayoom could be released on bail before the expiry of his detention period on August 6 and posted it for further hearing on July 29.

The Supreme Court had on July 23 deferred the hearing on Qayoom’s petition against his detention after Mehta said the issue was under consideration of the authorities concerned.

“Soon we will have a reply from the concerned authority,” Mehta had told the Bench.

“If required the learned Solicitor General can secure instructions within 24 hours and the matter be listed tomorrow. I am willing to argue on merits,” Dave had said, adding, “Habeas Corpus petitions cannot be delayed and dragged in this manner.”

Qayoom, who suffers from many ailments, has been under detention since August 5, 2019, following nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution.

On May 28, a division Bench of the J&K High Court had dismissed his petition against his detention under the Public Safety Act.

While upholding his prolonged detention, the High Court had suggested that he should submit a representation declaring that he had “shunned” his ideology. Then the government authorities would exercise their discretion “to take a decision” on any such representation, it had said.

On July 15, the Supreme Court had sought to know the basis of Qayoom’s continued detention under the J&K Public Safety Act.

“These are COVID19 times…He is 73 years old. We want to know on what basis you would like to detain him in Delhi’s Tihar (Jail)? Moreover, his detention period per order is about to expire,” the Bench had told Mehta.

As the Solicitor General said Qayoom’s ideology went against national interest, the Bench had said, “His ideology remains the same.”

“All the earlier FIRs against Qayoom date as far back as 2010. In the current scenario would you still like to keep this pending?” it had asked.

On June 26, the top court had issued notice to the J&K Administration on Qayoom’s petition challenging the May 28 order of the J&K High Court upholding his detention under the Public Safety Act, 1978.

It had also directed the authorities to provide him summer clothing and daily essentials in Tihar Jail where he is currently lodged.

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