SRINAGAR: Asserting that Courts are not barred from examining the grounds of detention, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has ruled that the Court has the authority to examine the grounds for detention and ensure a prima facie connection between the grounds and the purpose of the detention order, Live Law reported.

While acknowledging that subjective satisfaction recorded by the detaining authority though cannot be critically examined by the Court as it does not function as appellate court a bench of Justice Puneet Gupta observed.

“Court is not barred from looking into the grounds of the detention and prima facie satisfy itself as to whether grounds had any co-relation with the purpose for which the detention order has been passed”.

These observations were made in response to a plea where Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din Lone, represented by his mother Mehtaba, had challenged the order placing him under preventive detention.

Lone was detained under the PSA by the District Magistrate, Pulwama, based on allegations of supporting terrorist activities. Lone’s earlier detention order was quashed by the High Court in April 2022. However, the authorities issued a fresh detention order in June 2022 citing similar grounds.

Lone’s petition challenged the fresh detention order on several grounds. The petitioner argued that the grounds for detention were vague and lacked specific details of any activities undertaken after his release from the previous detention.

He further submitted that he was not provided with translated copies of the documents relied upon by the detaining author and the fresh order relied on the same grounds used in the earlier quashed order, violating legal principles.

The respondents, representing the State, countered that sufficient new material justified the fresh detention order. They further pointed that Lone, allegedly an overground worker for a banned terrorist organization, continued his activities after release.

Upon careful examination, the court noted that the grounds of detention largely mirrored those of an earlier quashed order, raising doubts about the necessity for a fresh detention.

Quoting legal precedents, the court emphasized that fresh facts must justify subsequent detention orders, irrespective of prior nullification.

“A very cursory perusal of the grounds mentioned in the detention order speak of the same being vague and bereft of any relevant detail. What sort of specific activity has been carried out by the petitioner after his release from the jail on 30.04.2022 till the detention order was passed on 20.06.2022 is conspicuous by its absence”, the bench remarked.

Observing that vague grounds in the detention order deprives a detenu of making statutory representation before the Advisory Board and the government the court emphasized that the right of representation is statutory right and fundamental in character of which the detenu cannot be deprived of due to ambiguous and vague nature of allegations.

Emphasizing its power to scrutinize the grounds of detention the court went on to highlight is authority to analyses the grounds of detention and their co-relation with the objective that the detaining authority intended to attain from such detention order.

Accordingly, while analyzing the ground in the case at hand the court said, “The court has no qualms in holding that the grounds of detention in the impugned order do not validate the reason for passing of the detention order in question”.

In consonance with these considerations the court quashed the detention order and ordered Lone’s immediate release.