SC asks J&K if Qayoom can be released before his detention expires

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The Supreme Court on Monday asked the J&K administration if it will agree to the release of J&K High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom, who was detained under the Public Safety Act, before his detention expires on August 6, if he agrees not to visit the Union territory or issue any statement till August 7.

A bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul made the remarks after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the J&K administration, informed the court that Qayoom’s detention will not be extended beyond August 6.

“We are trying for a workable arrangement. The government may have some apprehensions due to the approaching date,” the bench said, apparently referring to one year of the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5.

“Are you willing to release him if he doesn’t go there (Kashmir) till the seventh, agrees to stay in Delhi and not release any statements,” the bench asked Mehta, who said that he will respond in two days after seeking instructions.

Qayoom has challenged the May 28 order of the J&K High Court upholding his detention under the PSA. In his plea, Qayoom has contended that the HC order is ex facie unsustainable in law as it is premised on “stale, irrelevant, remote, vague, imprecise and deficient” grounds of detention.

Appearing for the appellant, Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave said the administration was not doing any favour by agreeing not to extend the detention. The government, he contended, did not have any evidence to support the detention, and that Qayoom was not given the material on the basis of which he was detained. He urged the court to grant bail to Qayoom without further delay and said he was not a criminal or involved in any anti-national activity.

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