J&K HC hears PIL to mark Section 18 of J&K PSA as unconstitutional

Tanvi Sinha

Advocate-Petitioner Mustafa MH has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

This PIL challenges the constitutional validity of the controversial Section 18 of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.

The plea contends that post the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, the people of J&K now fall under the ambit of Article 22(7) of the Indian Constitution.

A two-judge bench of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Javed Iqbal Wani sent notice to the Centre regarding the plea.

Following this, Advocate General DC Raina accepted notice of the plea on behalf of the Centre as a respondent. The impugned section in the act states a maximum punishment of two years of detention for anyone acting in a manner described as prejudicial to the maintenance of public order” and “prejudicial to the security of the State.”

The petition spoke of how the maximum period of detention as per Article 22 (7) of the Constitution is stated to be decided by the parliament, which was done in the National Security Act of 1980, and hence Section 18 of the J&K PSA stands to violate Article 22.

The petition states that as per Entry 9 of the Union List and Entry 3 of the Concurrent List, it would be applicable to the Union Territory of J&K as its special status stands removed.

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