HC panel asked to look into plea on detention of children
A special bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also took up a habeas corpus petition [a plea seeking direction to authorities to produce a missing person] filed by a woman, Asifa Mubeen, against her husband’s detention.Updated: Sep 21, 2019 01:23 IST
The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Jammu and Kashmir high court’s Juvenile Justice Committee to look into allegations that children were being held in detention by security forces after the revocation of J&K’s special status on August 5.
A special bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi also took up a habeas corpus petition [a plea seeking direction to authorities to produce a missing person] filed by a woman, Asifa Mubeen, against her husband’s detention.
The court issued notice and sought a reply in two weeks.
According to Mubeen, her husband, Mubeen Ahmed Shah, was detained on August 7 under the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978.
“As the issues highlighted pertain to alleged detention of children, we direct the Juvenile Justice Committee of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to undertake an exercise with regard to the facts stated in the writ petition and revert to us within a week from today”, the court ordered.
This direction came on a plea filed by child rights activists Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha, represented by senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi. During the hearing the court brushed aside solicitor general Tushar Mehta’s contention that the J&K Juvenile Justice Board was already looking into the issue.
Earlier this week, the top court called for a report from the J&K high court after Ahmadi claimed it was proving difficult for people to access the high court because of restrictions on movement imposed in the Valley after August 5.
On Friday, CJI Gogoi told Ahmadi that a report by the J&K HC’s chief justice did not support this stand. “We have conflicting reports... Since children are concerned, we will entertain you,” the CJI told Ahmadi. “At this stage, we do not consider it appropriate to offer any comments on the said report.”
The activists have cited media reports on how security forces have detained minors in Tral, Pampore and Awantipora. “There have been certain reports specific to children, which describe violations of very different kinds, ranging in seriousness from potential loss of life and liberty of the child, to being emotionally and intellectually drawn into the conflict,” read the petition. It also urged the top court to ensure that no excesses take place against women and children, “who are admittedly most vulnerable in such tense situations”.
The habeas corpus petition related to Mubeen Ahmed Shah claimed that the businessman was picked up illegally under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act on the intervening night of August 4 and 5. He was initially lodged in the Central Jail, Srinagar and then was moved to the Agra Central jail.
Promulgated in 1978, the Public Safety Act allows for administrative detention of up to two years without a trial in case a person is found to be “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the state”.
Shah is a qualified doctor and had been living in Malaysia since 2012. He had come to India in April 2019 to attend to the last rites of his sister-in-law.