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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in Syed Tassadque Hussain v Union of India has directed the Centre to ensure legal assistance to all the detained persons under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.

The bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rashid Ali Dar, while hearing a petition complaining non-enforcement of amendments to Article 22 (Protection against Arrest and Detention in certain cases) of the Constitution of India in the state, observed,

“We find that one of the grievances made by the writ petitioner in his affidavit (page 20) is that there may be no access to legal aid for the detenus who are poor people without financial means under the recent orders of detention in the State.”

Regarding extending legal assistance, Court also said, “if necessary, assistance of the Member, Secretary, Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Service Authority may be taken by the respondents for ensuring legal aid which could be arranged through video conferencing as well.”

On the remaining grounds of the petition, the Counsel for the state, Ld. Advocate General D.C. Raina, contended that ‘in view of the provisions of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, the writ petition may not be maintainable.’ According to him, Section 8 and 16 of the J&K Public Safety Act, as also alleged by the petitioner, is not in consonance with the Constitution of India. In so far as Section 10 of the Act is concerned, Raina did not submit to unconstitutionality claims of the petitioner.

Counsel for petitioner has asked for time to examine the new legislation. Matter will be further heard on 6th November 2019.

— India Legal Bureau

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