Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court

Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court
Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court
Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court
Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court

Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court

Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court

Single Irrelevant Ground Invalidates Detention, Says JK High Court

The High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh ruled that a single irrelevant ground can invalidate a preventive detention order, as highlighted in the case of Zubair Ahmad Khan vs Union Territory of J&K.

Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul, a single-judge, asserted that it is challenging to determine how the irrelevant ground influenced the mind of the relevant authority and contributed to their decision to detain the individual. Therefore, even one such irrelevant ground is sufficient to vitiate a preventive detention order, stated the court’s order issued on October 5.

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The Court’s ruling read, “One irrelevant ground is sufficient to vitiate the order as it is not possible to assess, in what manner and to what extent, that irrelevant ground operated on the mind of the appropriate authority, and contributed to his satisfaction that it was necessary to detain the detenu in order to prevent him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of the public order or security of the state.”

As a result of this ruling, the detention of Zubair Ahmad Khan, the petitioner, who was detained by the District Magistrate of Anantnag under the Public Safety Act of 1978 to prevent him from engaging in activities detrimental to the state’s security, has been quashed.

Advocate Mukhtar A Makroo, representing the petitioner, argued that the allegations in the detention grounds were vague and lacked specificity. The petitioner could not effectively defend against these allegations due to the absence of details regarding individuals with whom he was alleged to have associated or provided support, food, or shelter.

Makroo also pointed out that the detention was based on the detaining authority’s opinion, which relied on information from a dossier, an FIR, and supporting documents. However, the dossier did not mention any FIR, and complete details were not provided in the detention grounds.

He further argued that the detention grounds were a mere copy of the dossier and demonstrated a lack of thoughtful consideration by the detaining authority.

In response, Government Advocate Alla ud din Ganai contended that the activities in which the detainee had engaged were severely detrimental to the security of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

After evaluating the arguments presented by both parties, the High Court concluded that the detention grounds were vague and ambiguous, lacking references to specific dates, months, or years concerning the petitioner-detenu’s alleged activities.

The Court emphasised that including an irrelevant or non-existent ground alongside other relevant ones infringes upon the detainee’s constitutional rights and allows them to seek relief from the Court. Although the Court cannot assess the sufficiency of the grounds or replace its judgment with the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority, if even one ground or reason leading to the detaining authority’s subjective satisfaction is non-existent, misconceived, or irrelevant, the detention order becomes invalid.

In light of these considerations, the Court quashed the petitioner’s detention. (BarandBench)

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