Public Safety Act, Used To Detain Farooq Abdullah, Explained In 5 Points

This is the first time that the Public Safety Act has been used on a mainstream politician, especially an MP and a three-time former Chief Minister

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Public Safety Act, Used To Detain Farooq Abdullah, Explained In 5 Points

Former J&K Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was so far under "unofficial" house arrest in Srinagar

New Delhi:  Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah was on Monday charged under the Public Safety Act (PSA) - a stringent law that enables detention without trial for two years. The politician, 83, has been charged with "disturbing public order", which carries a three-month detention term. He has so far been under "unofficial" house arrest in Srinagar, which will now be his "jail". This is the first time PSA has been used on a mainstream politician, particularly one who is a three-time former Chief Minister. It has usually been used to arrest terrorists or separatists. Questioned over the timing of the move, sources said there worries Mr Abdullah might talk to the press about Kashmir, which could be awkward for the centre ahead of a UN meet later this month.
Here are 5 points to know about the Public Safety Act:
  1. The Public Safety Act - formally the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act - was introduced by Farooq Abdullah's father, former Chief Minister Sheikh Abdullah, to target timber smugglers.
  2. The PSA, often described as a "draconian law", empowers the government to detain individuals whose actions can be seen as "instigating, provoking or disturbing, or is likely to disturb, public order". It also allows the government to detain individuals "outside the limits of the territorial jurisdiction of the officer making the order".
  3. Under Section 13 of the PSA, detention orders can only be issued by a Divisional Commissioner or District Magistrate, neither one of which is obliged to disclose facts about the detention that "it considers to be against the public interest". However, under the same section, the act also states that a detainee must be told the reason for his/her detention. That communication must be made "not later than five days and in exceptional circumstances... no later than ten days from the date of detention".
  4. Within four weeks of a detention order an Advisory Board must review "grounds on which the order has been made" and submit a report within the next four weeks that will decide if there is sufficient cause for the detention to continue.
  5. The maximum period of detention for those charged with "disturbing public order", as Farooq Abdullah has been, is 12 months from the date of the order. Those charged with endangering the security of the State may face detention up to two years.




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