MHA: Over 200 still detained under PSA in J&K

This ministry also said Covid measures were running smoothly with 2G internet in response to two questions asked in Lok Sabha


The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), on September 20, while responding to a question put forth by Rahul Gandhi stated that as on September 11 there are 223 persons detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

About PSA

The Act was enacted by the Sheikh Abdullah led government in 1978 and has since then been a subject of contention. A report published by Amnesty International states that in a written reply to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in January 2017, the then-Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti stated that from 2007 to 2016, over 2400 PSA detention orders were passed, of which about 58% were quashed by courts.

The Act allows detention of persons without trial or forming of charges. It allows the government to detain a person for as long as 4 weeks without having to produce them before an authority, in this case, an Advisory Board. The detenu is also not permitted to engage in legal representation before the Advisory Board. The Act provides that the detenu be informed about the grounds of detention at the earliest, within 5 days or maximum 10 days of date of detention, but it also provides that reasons which are “against public interest” may not be disclosed. Even the report of the Advisory Board is kept confidential and not disclosed to the detenu, except the part where the opinion of the Advisory board i.e. whether the order of detention is confirmed or rejected is communicated to the detenu.

Internet Blockade

Another Member of Lok Sabha, Uttam Kumar Reddy Nalamada also questioned the MHA why the internet was still restricted in J&K and what impact it had on services like healthcare, education as well as access to justice for the people.

The MHA stated that districts of Ganderbal (Kashmir Division) and Udhampur (Jammu Division) have high speed internet. It further said that “The 2G mobile internet speed is not an impediment in covid control measures including dissemination of information to the general public as well as health workers. Also, e-learning apps and education/e-learning websites of the Government of India/ Government of J&K are accessible over 2G internet for downloading e-books and other study material. Further, the restriction on high speed mobile internet services has not been an impediment in the administration of justice and the Courts have taken special measures to conduct their proceedings during the pandemic by providing video links/URLs to the lawyers and the litigants.”

The parliamentary responses may be read here.


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