Issues of “genuine national security” are involved in cases of shifting of over 20 people, detained under the Public Safety Act in Jammu and Kashmir, to jails outside the Union Territory, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala was hearing a plea filed by Srinagar resident Raja Begum and three others through lawyer Satya Mitra challenging the transfer of detainees to jails outside the UT in alleged violation of the provisions of the law under which they had been detained.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court, “We will take instructions but these are issues of genuine national security. It may not be as simple as just communication between two people.” Arif Ahmad Sheikh, son of Raja Begum, a resident of Parimpora in Srinagar, was shifted to the central Jail in Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He was detained under the PSA on April 7 last year.
The plea alleged that over 20 people, detained under the public safety law, have been shifted out of the union territory prisons to jails in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. During the hearing, the counsel appearing for the petitioners said their families are unable to communicate with the detainees.
“They have taken immense pain. Some sort of communication needs to be established. Family members are not allowed to communicate. They belong to very poor background and for them travelling to visit him (Sheikh) is impossible,” she said.
The top court posted the matter for further hearing on April 5.
On November 4 last year, the top court had sought responses from the Centre, the Jammu and Kashmir government and others to the plea.
The plea said people detained under the local law cannot be moved out of the Union territory as the statute was applicable to the Union territory only.
The people are in preventive detention under the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.