Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act

On September 16 2019, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was detained for 12 hours under the State’s Public safety act. The act was brought to prevent timber smuggling. This allows the state government to detain a person up to 2 years without any trial. It was brought by Sheik Abdullah (Farooq Abdullah’s father) in 1978. The act is similar to the National Security act but was brought into force 2 years before the NSA came into being.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has still not given reasons for the former CM of the state being detained. The PSA is being used as it allows the state to hold the person without producing him in court. Under police custody the person has to be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of detention.

Key features of PSA

According to the PSA, the government has to refer the case to an advisory board within 4 weeks of passing the detention order. The board will make recommendations within 8 weeks. The decision of the detention of the person is based on the recommendations.

How is PSA different?

The rights of the person detained under PSA is limited. Unlike normal arrests, where the person is eligible for legal representation, these rights are denied when detained under PSA.

Early arrests under PSA

In August 2019, the act was used on a former IAS officer Shah Faesal ,who is also the founder of J&K People’s movement. He was stopped from flying out of the country. He is still under detention. Similarly the act was used to detain Hurriyat leaders like Masarat Alam and JKLF leader Yasin Malik.

Omar Abdullah, son of Farooq Abdullah had promised to repeal the act if he came back to power.

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