SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has sharply criticized the UT administration for its unreasonable delay in releasing a detenu whose preventive detention order was quashed by the court in December 2023.

In resolving a contempt petition filed by a detainee pressing for the execution of his release order, Justice Rahul Bharti, with the District Magistrate and SSP Baramulla personally present as per its previous directives, remarked.

“This court has made known to the two offices the serious concern of this court about loss of 79 days of his life by the petitioner by remaining under preventive custody without any legal basis only to earn his release upon intervention of this court”.

The case, brought forth by petitioner Muneeb Rasool Shenwari highlighted the egregious loss of 79 days of Shenwari’s life due to his unwarranted detainment. Despite the court’s earlier judgment on December 30, 2023, quashing Shenwari’s preventive detention, he remained in custody until his release was secured through the intervention of the court.

Expressing serious concern about the loss of personal liberty suffered by Shenwari the bench emphasised that the Jammu and Kashmir government must ensure “reasonable dispatch” to release detainees whose preventive detention is deemed illegal.

Justice Bharti stressed that such detenues should be released “without unwarranted loss of time and cautioned, “This court hopes that such like scenario does not repeat again and whenever the preventive detention of a detenue gets quashed, the Government of UT of Jammu and Kashmir acts with reasonable dispatch to ensure that the detenue person is released from the custody without unwarranted loss of time”.

While the court ordered Shenwari’s release in consonance with its earlier order, it also clarified that this order does not prevent him from pursuing legal action against officials responsible for his unlawful detention. -(Live Law)