New Delhi, June 26: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to respond to an appeal filed by the erstwhile State’s High Court Bar Association president challenging his nearly one-year detention and solitary confinement in the Agra Central Prison.

A Vacation Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and B.R. Gavai, in a virtual court hearing, issued notice to the Union Territory of J&K, the Srinagar District Magistrate, the police and jail authorities in the Srinagar, Tihar and Agra central jails, The Hindu reported.

The court directed the plea filed by senior advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom, represented by senior advocate Dushyant Dave and advocate Vrinda Grover, to quash his detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) to be listed immediately after court vacation. The Bench directed the jail authorities to provide Mr. Qayoom with summer clothing and other basic essentials.

In his appeal before the apex court, Mr. Qayoom argued that the J&K High Court rejected his habeas corpus petition to quash his “illegal and prolonged detention” on May 28. The High Court had declined his plea for personal liberty despite concluding that the detention order was based on “somewhat clumsy grounds”.

Mr. Qayoom submitted that the detention order was based on four “stale, irrelevant” FIRs dating back to 2008 and 2010. He said he had never been arrested or charge-sheeted on the basis of these FIRs. In fact, he was detained in 2010 on the basis of these FIRs but the detention was subsequently revoked. The same FIRs could not be used a decade later to pass another order of detention in August 2019.

“The judgment [of the High Court], recognising the pitfalls inherent in the sole ground provided by the four stale and irrelevant FIRs, deploys the perceived ideology of the petitioner [Qayoom] to try and establish proximity, pertinence and relevance to the FIRs to justify the detention order,” the special leave petition in the Supreme Court said.

By justifying his detention, the High Court had sanctioned “State-induced thought policing”, he submitted.

Mr. Qayoom was detained on the intervening night of August 4-5 last year. An order of detention under the PSA was passed against him on August 7 and he was taken to the Agra jail “without prior intimation”, his petition said.

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