New Delhi: (PCP) “The State Legal Aid Committee, J&K held a meeting in New Delhi today under the chairmanship of its Executive Chairman, Prof.Bhim Singh which decided to challenge the legality/ constitutionality of Public Safety Act in Jammu and Kashmir which was enacted by the dissolved Legislative Assembly in 1978. Hundreds of political leaders from recognized political parties have been detained under Public Safety Act which in law stands diluted since the President of India scrapped Article 35-A depriving the Legislative Assembly of J&K of its authority to enact any such law which is/was contrary to the command of the fundamental rights enshrined in Chapter-III of the Indian Constitution.” This was the resolution adopted by the Legal Aid Committee, J&K (a registered society) today challenging the Presidential Order dated 05.08.2019 which were kept in force in the Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh even after reducing the State of J&K into a Union Territory.
Prof.Bhim Singh, the Executive Chairman of SLAC who presided the meeting of the State Legal Aid Committee, J&K declared that the State Legal Aid Committee shall move a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the proclamation which had kept the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978 (Item No.123 in the List of Acts that have been kept enforce in the Union Territory of J&K and Ladakh). He said that the President’s declaration as mentioned in Vth Schedule on the General Laws applicable to the Union Territory of J&K and Union Territory of Ladakh.
In the Table-4, the State Laws which shall remain applicable to the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh have also been listed. There are 166 such existing Laws which have been kept alive in the Union Territories even. Item No. 123 says that J&K Public Safety Act shall also remain alive. The Legal Aid Committee has decided to challenge this autocratic, unconstitutional and malafide decision which has kept Public Safety Act alive which was enacted in 1978 by the Legislative Assembly of J&K under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah. Prof.Bhim Singh said that this law he (Bhim Singh) had strongly opposed though he was sitting Congress MLA, the party was supporting the government on this issue. He said that party had expelled him from the Assembly for opposing Public Safety Act because the Congress was supporting Chief Minister inside the Assembly.
Prof.Bhim Singh said that this power Legislative Assembly have drawn from the dictates of Article 370(3). The day Article 370 disappeared withdrawn/quashed by the President of India by withdrawing Article 35-A from the pages of Constitution, the Public Safety Act ceased to operate. This is the situation that Public Safety Act became redundant/dead the day President withdrew Article 35-A from the Constitution. The Public Safety Act was enacted by the Legislative Assembly the power it had hired from the command of Article 35-A. Article 35-A is dead so is the legal/confusional status of Public Safety Act.
Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate of the Supreme Court declared today that the SLAC in cooperation with National Panthers Party shall file writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the validity/legality of so-called Public Safety Act. He also said that an appropriate compensation to all those illegally detained under PSA after its dissolution shall also be demanded through the court. The important political functionaries as well as Members of Parliament have been locked under the illegal law during the President’s Rule. The prominent persons who continued to be locked, some in their own houses, include sitting Member of Lok Sabha & former Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the former Chief Ministers Ms. Mehbooba Mufti and Mr. Omar Abdullah. There are several former State Ministers sulking in illegal detentions in J&K under President’s Rule since August 5, 2019. What a face of Indian democracy in J&K!
The author of this statement, Prof.Bhim Singh himself suffered imprisonments under this Public Safety Act for nearly eight years. Each time he was released by the intervention of the Supreme Court of India. Even he got compensation of Rs.50,000/- for his illegal detention by the orders of the Supreme Court in 1984.