Jammu and Kashmir High Court Declares Preventive Detention Orders Unsustainable Due to Unexplained Delays

LI Network

Published on: December 23, 2023 at 11:48 IST

In a recent ruling, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has emphasized that a failure to provide a satisfactory explanation for delays in passing preventive detention orders, especially when they lack a live or proximate connection to the detenue’s past conduct, renders such orders legally unsustainable.

The decision, handed down in the case of Tariq Ahmad Wagay versus UT of Jammu and Kashmir, was delivered by Justice MA Chowdhary.

The court’s observation came in response to the quashing of a detention order issued in 2022 and executed in May 2023 against Tariq Ahmad Wagay, also known as Tariq Choudary, in connection with a 2021 drug trafficking case.

Justice Chowdhary noted that the detaining authorities had failed to adequately explain the reason for the 2022 detention order relating to an incident from the previous year, constituting sufficient grounds for nullification.

Quoting a Supreme Court ruling in Rajinder Arora v. Union of India (2006) 4 SCC 696, the High Court emphasized the necessity of establishing a live and proximate link between the detenue’s past conduct and the imperative need for detention.

Referring to Sama Aruna v. State of Telangana & Anr., the Court underscored that relying on old and stale incidents is insufficient grounds for ordering detention.

Moreover, the High Court expressed concern over an unexplained delay of five months in the execution of the December 2022 detention order, casting doubt on the genuine necessity for preventive detention.

Justice Chowdhary highlighted that resorting to preventive detention should only occur when there is an urgent need to prevent activities prejudicial to public order or state security.

The Court also noted that the detaining authority had not provided the detenue with all the material upon which the detention order was based.

The absence of crucial information, such as the detenue’s grant of bail in the 2021 drug case, raised questions about the detaining authority’s thoroughness.

The High Court, agreeing with the detenue’s counsel, concluded that the non-furnishing of the complete material for the detention order invalidated it, making it unsustainable and consequently liable to be quashed.

As a result, the High Court granted the detenue’s writ petition, allowing for the quashing of the detention order.

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