The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has quashed the detention in separate orders of religious clerics Abdul Rashid Dawoodi and Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, who were held under section 8 of the Public Safety Act (PSA) last year.

The Court in both the orders has observed that the grounds of their detention were vague.

In the first order, a Bench of Justice Rajnesh Oswal directed Veeri to provide an undertaking to the district magistrate, pledging not to deliver hate or anti-national speeches on any occasion. Veeri, the vice president of Jamaat-e-Ahle Hadees, was arrested in September last year for allegedly delivering anti-national speeches during Friday sermons.

Dawoodi, the head of Tehreeqi-e-Sout-ul-Auliya', was arrested in the same month on the grounds that his activities posed a significant threat to public order.

In a separate order, a Bench of Justice Sanjay Dhar allowed the petition and quashed the detention order, directing immediate release unless required in another case.

Advocate Shafaqat Nazir appeared for Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri, Advocate Asma Rashid appeared for Abdul Rashid Dawoodi and Advocate Alaudin Ganai appeared for the Respondents.

The Court emphasized that the non-consideration or unreasonably belated consideration of a representation violates Article 22(5) of the Constitution, rendering the detention legally unsustainable. Article 22(5) requires authorities to promptly communicate the grounds for preventive detention and provide the detainee with an opportunity to make a representation against the order.

The Court noted that the current detention order relied on the same FIRs as the previous one, and the previous detention was not brought to the detaining authority's attention, a crucial omission. Furthermore, the Court noted that the grounds of detention lack specific dates for the alleged anti-national speeches, rendering them vague and impeding the petitioner's right to meaningful representation. The Court said, “Law is well settled that order of preventive detention cannot be issued on vague grounds as it disables the detenue to make effective and purposeful representation against the same.”

In Veeri's case, the detention order passed by District Magistrate, Anantnag, in September last year was also quashed. However, considering Veeri's offer to provide an undertaking, he was directed to furnish such an undertaking to the District Magistrate, pledging not to deliver hate or anti-national speeches. He was directed to provide this undertaking within two days of his release from custody, with a receipt to be furnished to the Registrar, Judicial of the court.

The Court ordered the release of both individuals unless they were required in any other case.

Cause Title: Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat @ Veeri v. Union Territory of J&K & Ors., Molvi Ab. Rashid Sheikh v. Union Territory of J&K & Anr.

Click here to read/download the first Order

Click here to read/download second Order