The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court clarified that under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 (PSA), the term "State" encompasses the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Court dismissed an argument challenging the applicability of preventive detention under the PSA, asserting that despite Jammu and Kashmir's reorganization into Union Territories in 2019, the term "State" continues to include Union Territories as per the definition in the General Clauses Act, 1897.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi said, “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. The term State includes the Government of each State that is the State Executive and legislature of each State that is the State legislatures. It is pertinent to mention that it includes Union Territories as well.”

Advocate Asif Ahmad Dar appeared for the Appellant and while Deputy Advocate General Muneeb Wani appeared for the Respondent.

Appellant’s counsel had argued that after Jammu and Kashmir's reorganization into Union Territories, references to "State" in legal contexts should pertain only to Union Territory, not to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Court rejected this argument, citing the broad definition of "State" under the General Clauses Act, which encompasses Union Territories.

The Court passed the judgment while upholding the preventive detention of Appellant, previously affirmed by a single judge of the High Court. He had appealed this decision, contesting that the detaining authority did not properly consider his case.

The High Court found no legal flaws in the grounds of detention provided by the authorities, noting that the decision to detain him was based on reasoned consideration to safeguard public security by restricting his liberty. The Court added, “the grounds of detention formulated by the detaining authority and the record supplied by the respondents does not suffer from and legal infirmity. 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”

The appeal was therefore dismissed, affirming the legality of his detention under the PSA.

Cause Title: Yawar Ahmad Malik v. Union Territory of J&K


Appellant: Advocates Asif Ahmad Dar and GN Shaheen

Respondent: Deputy Advocate General Muneeb Wani and Advocate Nowbahar Khan

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