‘State’ include ‘UT’ mentioned in PSAs: HC

Excelsior Correspondent

Srinagar, July 10: High Court has said the word ‘State’ mentioned in detention orders passed under Public Safety Act is valid and includes the word ‘UT’.
These observations were passed by the Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi in an appeal filed against the writ court judgment whereby PSA of a detenu was upheld.
The appeal against the judgment was assailed on the ground that the detaining authority has not applied his mind while passing the order of detention against the detenu.
It was argued by the detenue-counsel that the detaining Authority has said the activities of detenue are prejudicial to the security of the State while as the J&K is seized to be the State after coming into force the J&K Reorganization Act 2019.
The DB while dismissing the appeal said that it does not subscribe to its Single Bench’s observation that “State” does not include Union Territory as far booking someone under Public Safety Act, 1978 by “citing acts prejudicial to the security of the “State” of Jammu and Kashmir was concerned.
“There is no doubt that the definition of State as contained in [Section 3 (58) of General Clauses Act, 1897] includes Union Territory. The term, “all local or other authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India” comprises States and Union Territories,” DB said.
The term ‘State’ DB added includes the Government of each State that is the State Executive and legislature of each State that is the State legislatures.
“We do not subscribe to the view taken by the Single Bench in the case supra and we, accordingly, held that the Judgment rendered by the Single Bench is not applicable to the instant case.” DB clarified on referring the judgment on the issue.
The Single Bench of the court had held that the person could no longer be put in preventive detention under the PSA by citing acts prejudicial to the security of the “State” of J&K as Jammu and Kashmir has been “Union Territory” since 2019.
The Division Bench made these observation after counsel for a detainee, challenging dismissal of plea against PSA detention, cited court’s Single Bench judgment delivered in case titled Arif Aijaz Shahri Vs. UT of J&K and Ors., saying that there has been “non- application of mind” on the part of the detaining authority insofar as the alleged activities of the detainee have been reflected to be prejudicial to the Security of the State and not the Union Territory of J&K.
Subsequently, the court dismissed the appeal and upheld its judgment by virtue of which challenge to PSA detention order passed by District Magistrate Kulgam 29-08-2023 was overturned.
“From the above discussion coupled with the law as taken note of hereinbefore, this Court is of the view that the grounds of detention formulated by the detaining authority and the record supplied by the respondents (authorities) does not suffer from and legal infirmity,” the court said, adding, “The detention order appears to be on sound logic for the reason that the detaining authority, before passing the order, has applied its mind to draw subjective satisfaction to order preventive detention of the detenue by curtailing his liberty.”