IIOJK HC quashes illegal detention of banned JeI leader Adv Zahid Ali

Srinagar: The High Court of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir has quashed fourth detention order in a row under the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) against former spokesperson of the banned Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Advocate Zahid Ali, directing the authorities to compensate him for the illegal incarceration.

According to Kashmir Media Service, in his habeas corpus petition before the court, Advocate Zahid Ali of Nehama, Pulwama had challenged the detention order the district Magistrate Pulwama had passed against him.

Justice Rahul Bharti in his judgment said, “This court cannot resist but to hold that the preventive detention of the petitioner is mala fide and illegal”. He added, “The petitioner has been made to suffer loss of his liberty for a cumulative period of more than 1,080 days of preventive custody, covered under the span of four detention orders in a row from 2019 to March 2024,”.

“The latest preventive detention of the petitioner is compounding the illegality, attending the breach and violation of the petitioner’s fundamental right to personal liberty with impunity, and that entitles him to compensation,” the judgment stated.

While the petitioner Advocate Zahid Ali had sought a compensation of Rs 25 lakh, the court directed the occupation authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh. This is the first time the court has penalised the authorities for detention under the PSA.

The order said that the court had quashed the three previous detentions of the petitioner not on technical grounds but on the merits of the case.

Notably, Advocate Zahdid Ali was first detained under the draconian law on March 5, 2019. The detention was quashed by the court on July 11, 2019. Eight days after the release order and while being still under detention, the authorities slapped another PSA against him on July 19, 2019, which was again quashed by the court on March 3, 2020. After remaining out of jail for three months, the IIOJK admin slapped the PSA against Zahid Ali for the third consecutive time on June 29, 2020, which was quashed by the court on February 24, 2021. The fourth detention order is dated September 14, 2022.

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