Detention of Individual Involved In Pelting Stones On Security Forces, Aiding Terrorist Organizations Not Illegal : J&K and Ladakh HC

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The court ruled that the grounds mentioned in the detention order were sufficient to form the opinion to the effect that the detention of the petitioner is necessitated and the same was not vague and un-specific

The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court, in a significant ruling, has held that the detention order issued against an individual allegedly working as an over-ground worker for banned terrorist organizations, involved in exhorting youth to join terrorist activities, participating in violent mobs pelting stones at security forces, and chanting anti-national slogans during the funeral processions of terrorists, cannot be considered illegal, unjust and unfounded.

The court, presided over by Justice Puneet Gupta, made the observation while dismissing the challenge against a detention order passed under Public Safety Act,1978 by the District Magistrate, Pulwama (respondent no.2) dated June 29, 2022 against Murtaza Munawar (petitioner).

The petitioner, represented by Advocate Wajid Mohd. Haseeb, challenged the detention order on several grounds. Firstly, the petitioner argued that the allegations in the detention order were vague, thereby preventing him from making an effective representation. It was also contended that the detaining authority had relied solely on the police dossier without independently applying its mind. Furthermore, the petitioner claimed he was not provided with the requisite material and that his representation to the authorities was not considered. The petitioner sought compensation for what he termed an illegal detention order passed by Respondent No. 2.

In response, GA Jehangir Dar, appearing for the respondents asserted that all procedural formalities were complied with during the issuance of the detention order. It was stated that the detention order was duly executed, and the petitioner was provided with the necessary material and the contents of the detention order were explained to him. It was further highlighted that the petitioner's representation was considered and subsequently rejected on July 15, 2022.

The court, upon reviewing the case, noted that the detention order explicitly detailed the petitioner's activities, which were deemed prejudicial to the security of the state. “The petitioner is extending logistic support to the terrorists as well as Over Ground Worker (OGW) of a banned terrorist organization. The petitioner was on the forefront of violent mobs, who were pelting stones on security forces are also mentioned in the detention order. The associate of the petitioner are active in the area and could influence the petitioner for joining the militancy,” the court observed while rejecting the argument that these allegations were vague.

Further, the court found that the detaining authority had not solely relied on the police dossier but had formed its own opinion based on the information provided. The court held that “The subjective satisfaction of the respondent No.2 cannot be questioned by the Court in the present petition as the subjective satisfaction recorded cannot be said to be completely unjust and unfounded. It cannot be said that the grounds mentioned in the detention order are vague and un-specific. It is trite proposition of law that the satisfaction recorded by the detaining authority is normally not to be assessed and analyzed as if the court is sitting in appeal while deciding the same.”

The court confirmed that the petitioner was provided with all necessary documents, including the grounds of detention, dossier, and other relevant records, at the time of executing the detention order. Moreover, the petitioner had also been informed of his right to make a representation to the government and the detaining authority. Therefore, the court ruled that the grounds mentioned in the detention order were sufficient to form the opinion to the effect that the detention of the petitioner is necessitated.

In conclusion, the court held that the grounds presented by the petitioner's counsel to quash the detention order were without merit. The court dismissed the petition, upholding the validity of the detention order issued under the Public Safety Act, 1978.


Cause Title: Murtaza Munawar v Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir [WP(Crl) No.510/2022]