‘Order of detention clearly vitiated by total non-application of mind’
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday quashed the Public Safety Act (PSA) slapped on Jamaat-e-Islami chief Abdul Hameed Ganaie after observing that the detaining authority had failed to apply its mind while passing the detention order.
A Division Bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal and Justice Sanjay Dhar set aside the single-bench judgement dated 22 June, 2019, and noted that Ganaie at the time of his detention was implicated in two FIRs, one of them more than a decade old, and the other recently registered at Police Station Budgam.
“Interestingly, neither in the dossier supplied by the Senior Superintendent of Police nor in the grounds of detention there is any whisper as to whether the appellant was ever arrested in the aforesaid FIR/FIRs. There is no awareness shown by the Detaining Authority with regard to the status of the appellant, who is accused in such FIRs,” the bench said.
The bench also noted that the detaining authority had not indicated any reason as to why the substantive laws of the State were not sufficient to deter the appellant from pursuing his activities aimed at destabilising the State and thereby threatening its security.
The court gave reference to the Supreme Court directives in Gautam Jain Vs Union of India and said, “What is envisaged under Section 10A of the J&K Public Safety Act is a situation where detention is ordered on two or more grounds, which are separable and independent of each other. In these circumstances, the Section provides that the order of detention was not to be deemed invalid or inoperative merely because one or some of the grounds is/are vague, non-existent, not relevant, not connected or not proximately connected with such person or unfounded for any other reason whatsoever.”
The court recorded that subjective satisfaction without taking relevant material into consideration and non-application of mind by the Detaining Authority had vitiated the grounds of detention. “The order of detention, for the foregoing reasons, is clearly vitiated by total non-application of mind by the Detaining Authority and it should have been held so by the Writ Court. In view of the above, we find merit in this appeal and the same is, accordingly, accepted,” the court said.
“The judgment and order of the Writ Court is set aside and the detention of the detenue is quashed. As a result, the respondents are directed to release the detenue forthwith, if not required in any other case,” the court directed.