Press Trust of India

Court asks govt to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to jailed lawyer

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Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has directed the UT administration to pay a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the former spokesman of banned Jamaat-e-Islami outfit advocate Ali Mohammad Lone alias Zahid for his illegal detention under the Public Safety Act.

Quashing Lone’s detention under the PSA, Justice Rahul Bharti observed that the detention order passed by the Pulwama district magistrate read with consequent government orders of approval and confirmation of the preventive detention are held to be illegal and unwarranted.

“Therefore, the said order along with the petitioner’s preventive detention are hereby set aside and quashed. The Superintendent of the Jail concerned, where the petitioner is being detained, is directed to release the petitioner free from his prison,” the 13-page order passed by Justice Bharti reads.

Although the petitioner had claimed a compensation of Rs 25 lakh, the court held that a compensation of Rs 5 lakh would meet the ends of justice.

“Therefore, besides holding and declaring the preventive detention of the petitioner illegal, also holds the petitioner entitled to compensation of rupees five lakh payable by the respondents within a period of three months from the date of this judgment,” it added.

Lone was first arrested in 2019 but his preventive detention was quashed by the court in July that year. However, he was detained again under preventive laws within six days but the order was set aside by the court in 2020.

Within three months, he was again booked under preventive laws but the detention was set aside by the court in 2021.

“The passing of the impugned detention order, which is fourth in a row, against the petitioner by same set of mindset operating through SSP Pulwama and the respondent No.2-District Magistrate Pulwama and mechanically followed by the Govt., has been effected least bothering the SSP Pulwama and the respondent No.2-District Magistrate Pulwama to at least spare a reading, lest an appreciation, to the last judgment dated 24/02/2021 in which this court, in very clear and categoric terms, held the basis of the petitioner’s third time preventive detention to be resting upon stale grounds,” the court observed.

“Now if three judgments of this Court quashing preventive detention of the petitioner made three times hereto before have not been spared a passing glance, lest an application of mind, by and on the part of the SSP Pulwama, the respondent No.2- District Magistrate Pulwama and last by the respondent No.1- Govt. of UT of J&K as well, then how can it be claimed by the said three authorities at their respective end that the fourth time preventive detention of the petitioner is an outcome of an open and fair mindset acting upon changed factual scenario,” the court further observed.

Taking strong note of the authorities ignoring its orders, the court said, “This court cannot be diplomatic to avoid observing that if left to the whims and fancies of the SSP Pulwama and the respondent No.2- District Magistrate, Pulwama then the judgment of the High Court of J&K and Ladakh quashing a given preventive detention of a person is of no interest to them and same very person by repeat of the pretext can be made to suffer cyclic preventive detentions to outnumber judgments quashing the given preventive detention.”

“It seems that the SSP Pulwama and the respondent No.2-District Magistrate Pulwama in continuing with the preventive detention of the petitioner meant to be law unto themselves having extra constitutional authority at their respective disposal in the matter of targeting the petitioner with repeated preventive detention custody unmindful of fact that each time failing to sustain the said preventive detention custody before the court of law,” the court added.

Press Trust of India

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