The Article provides an insight to Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and reasons behind why it is called as the Draconian Law.
J&K public safety act introduced on April 8, 1978 which allows the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
Important Highlights of J&K PSA?
- The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978.
- This Act was introduced as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
- According to the law, it allows the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
- The PSA allows for administrative detention for up to two years “in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State”, and for administrative detention up to one year where “any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
- Detention orders under PSA 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”.
- Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) has been extended to three months.
Why it is called as “Draconian” law?
- The law was misused widely right from the beginning, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents and separatists by consecutive governments until 1990.
- The Act was amended in August 2018 to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well,
- The detaining authority need not disclose any facts about the detention “which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose”.
- The terms under which a person is detained under PSA are vague and include a broad range of activities like “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State” or for “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
- The vagueness provided in the act gives unbridled powers to the authorities.
- PSA does not provide for a judicial review of detention This ensures prolonged detention of people.
- PSC has been used against human rights activists, journalists, separatists and others who are considered as a threat to the law & order.
- Right to dissent is stifled by these Acts.
For more such informative articles stay tuned to Own Guru.