Aged Qayoom couldn’t be released despite expiry of detention period

In an apparent move to extend the detention of a renowned Kashmiri lawyer, Indian Supreme Court has asked the authorities if the prolonged detention of Jammu & Kashmir Bar Association President, Mian Abdul Qayoom, was required even after expiry of his detention period of one year.

The petition challenging the decision of the High Court of occupied Kashmir to uphold Qayoom’s detention was taken up for hearing by the Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Indu Malhotra, today. The court had earlier sought the authorities’ response on the same.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought a period of ten more days from the Court in order to file the response. Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, representing Qayoom, questioned if such delays were reasonable in a matter involving the writ of Habeas Corpus.

Dave told the Court that Qayoom is 73 years of age and has been in prison for about a year now. The period of his detention stands expired and yet Qayoom continues to be incarcerated and lodged in a prison at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is spreading fast, Dave submitted.

At this juncture, Justice Kaul remarked that Qayoom has been in prison for long enough and “his ideology remains the same”, a reference to Qayoom’s stand that Jammu and Kashmir is a UN-recognized dispute, which needs to be addressed as per UN Security Council resolutions.

All the earlier FIRs against Qayoom date as far back as 2010, the Court further pointed out, it added.

Mehta, seeking to argue that Qayoom’s ideology is against India’s interest, sought 10 days’ time from the Court. The matter, however, will be heard next on July 23, the Court said.