The petitioner contented that grounds of detention are vague, non-specific with regard to date and time of the alleged acts prejudicial to the nation.
Per contra, the respondents contended that detenue has become a “hard core fundamentalist” and voluntarily agreed to work as Over Ground Worker (OGW) of the The Resistance Front (TRF) which according to the counsel, is an outfit of LeT.
Vis-à-vis the petitioner’s contentions with regards to the vagueness, the Court broadly went through the grounds. It was noted that detenu is an active member of terrorist organisation TRF (The Resistance Front) and is helping the organisation in its subversive activities in and around district Pulwama. The Court pointed out that no details with regard to the date from which the petitioner had been a member of the organisation or the nature of the subversive activities, were specifically mentioned in the ground.
Vis-à-vis the ground regarding detenue’s fundamentalist ideology, the Court observed that adherents of the Abrahamic Faith have to necessarily believe in certain fundamentals of the religion to be accepted as the adherents of that religion. Therefore, someone who steadfastly pursues or follows the fundamentals of an Abrahamic faith, is undoubtedly a fundamentalist but there is no negativity associated with it and it is distinct from an extremist or a separatist. The Court referred to Oxford dictionary meaning of “fundamentalism” which means that “the strict maintenance of traditional orthodox religious beliefs of doctrines; ESP belief in the inerrancy of scripture and literal acceptance of the creeds as fundamentals of protestant Christianity”.
The Court observed that being a fundamentalist Muslim cannot have a negative bearing on the detenue’s personality.
The Court allowed the petition and quashed the impugned detention order, however, the Court clearly stated that observations made in this order shall not influence the Trial Court while adjudicating the case of the detenue.
[Shahbaz Ahmad Palla v. UT of J&K, 2023 SCC OnLine J&K 394, decided on 19-07-2023]
*Order by Justice Atul Sreedharan
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For petitioner: Shabir Ahmad, Advocate
For respondent: Rais-u-din Ganie, Dy. AG and Ilyas Nazir Laway, GA