What Is Public Safety Act Under Which Farooq Abdullah Has Been Detained?
Farooq Abdullah was detained under Public Safety Act (PSA) on Sunday night (Photo: PTI)
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah was detained under Public Safety Act (PSA) on Sunday night. The place where Abdullah senior will be housed has been declared a temporary jail, through an order. The order emerged on Monday ahead of the Supreme Court’s hearing of a habeas corpus petition that sought Farooq Abdullah’s production in the top court. Tensions are high in Kashmir after New Delhi abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated it into two Union Territories on August 5.
What is Public Safety Act?
- Jammu and Kashmir Governor received the assent of Public Safety Act on April 8, 1978 which was introduced by the government of Sheikh Abdullah, father of Farooq.
- The Act was introduced as a tough law to prevent the timber smuggling.
- The act allows detention for up to two years without a trial for people above the age of 16. The amendments made in 2011 raised the minimum age of a person from 16 to 18 years.
- Public Safety Act orders can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
- Section 22 of the Act provides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.” Under Section 23 of the Act, the government is empowered to “make such Rules consistent with the provisions of this Act, as may be necessary for carrying out the objects of this Act”.
- Following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, several human rights activists, journalists, separatists considered as a threat to the law and order. In 2016, during the protests over the killing of Hizbul Mujaihideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani more than 550 persons were detained under the PSA.
Prior to abrogation of Article 370, Farooq Abdullah’s son Omar in South Kashmir’s Pulwama had promised to revoke the Public Safety Act if voted to power. "If voted to power, PSA revocation will be ensured," he had said.
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Omar Abdullah had said his party was committed to bring the state out of misery.
However, Junior Abdullah’s statement was criticised by Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP. "A party that convinced the idea and acts like PSA, POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act), AFSPA to muzzle the dissent voices, rigged elections in 1987, booked elected people in jails and declared them militants are now asking for majority to revoke PSA. Illogical!" the PDP had tweeted.
First Published: Monday, September 16, 2019 02:12 PM