Rights

Khurram Parvez Remains in Custody Despite HC Order Overruling Detention

This is the second instance when the human rights activist has not been allowed to walk free immediately after a court order was issued in his favour.

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Khurram Parvez. Credit: Facebook

New Delhi: While human rights activist Khurram Parvez continues to remain in prison despite his detention order being quashed by the Jammu and Kashmir high court on November 25, the state police is yet to file a report in connection with his arrest under the Public Safety Act 1978 (PSA).

After the high court quashed Parvez’s preventive detention under the PSA and directed the government to immediately release him – especially since he had not been accorded a chance to make a representation – the human rights activist, on November 26, moved a bail application in a city court directing the police to file a report.

His lawyer, Parvez Imroz, stated that the court had asked the chief prosecuting officer in Srinagar to file a police report and said that the report was expected on Monday.

This is the second instance when Parvez – against whom four FIRs have been filed – has been unable to walk free immediately after a court order was issued in his favour.

Prior to this, on September 20, a sessions court had set aside his detention order, but instead of releasing him, the authorities had booked him under the PSA.

Trouble began for Parvez on September 14 when he was denied permission by the authorities at Indira Gandhi International Airport to leave for Geneva to attend a session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Parvez, who is also the chairperson of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, which a fortnight ago bagged the prestigious 2016 Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award for its work on enforced disappearances, was stopped by the immigration authorities who allegedly were instructed by the Intelligence Bureau to not allow him to leave.

The following day, after he had returned to his house in Sonawar, Srinagar, the state police arrested him in a late night raid. He was arrested on the orders of an executive magistrate who had asked the police to detain him under Sections 107 and 151 of the CrPC on the grounds of breach of peace and disturbing public order.

The sessions court in Srinagar had thereafter on September 20 set aside the order of the executive magistrate and ordered the jail authorities in Kupwara to immediately release Parvez. But instead of allowing Parvez, who is disabled, to leave, the police arrested him again.

The manner in which Parvez’s case has been handled has also displeased the high court, which had directed the state to release him “forthwith from preventive custody”.

Questioning the absence of “other connecting documents”, the court had observed that Parvez had not been provided with the documents on the basis of which he had been detained.

“The detenu in these circumstances has been deprived of the opportunity of making an effective representation against his detention in terms of Article 22(5) of the constitution of India. Breach of this constitutional safeguard alone is sufficient to invalidate the impugned order of detention,” the court had said, adding that “it appears no offence was committed by the detenu.”

Apart from the courts, the civil rights organisations and international organisations have also decried the manner in which Parvez has been treated.

The People’s Union for Civil Liberties, in its October 16 report on the situation in Kashmir, had observed that 382 individual petitioners had challenged their detention under the PSA in the Jammu and Kashmir high court.

“It is estimated that about 434 people were detained under PSA, including human rights activist Khurram Parvez and lawyer Zahid Ali,” the report stated, adding that 12 stated government employees had also been sacked for allegedly supporting the protests.

A few days later, a group of UN experts, including Michel Forst, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Setondji Adjovi, the chair-rapporteur of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Maina Kiai, the UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, had also sought Parvez’s release.

In a statement they had stated that “Parvez is a well-known and outspoken human rights defender who has had a longstanding and positive engagement with the UN human rights mechanisms,” and therefore, “his continued detention following his arrest just a few days before his participation in the UN Human Rights Council, suggests a deliberate attempt to obstruct his legitimate human rights activism.”

  • Khan

    I don’t understand how the High Court orders are defied. This means we have different constitutions, different governments, different laws & different enforcement authorities. This is how countries get disintegrated. There must be one rule, one law, one constitution applicable for all citizens equally or it is a banana republic.

    • Hindusthani

      Can the high court act against the officials who are not following its orders. If not then do we have a rule of law or not?