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Delhi HC allows Shah Faesal to withdraw plea challenging his detention

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 12-09-2019 16:08 IST | Created: 12-09-2019 16:02 IST
Delhi HC allows Shah Faesal to withdraw plea challenging his detention
Image Credit: Flickr

The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal to withdraw his plea challenging his detention from IGI Airport here following abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. A bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal granted Faesal permission to withdraw his plea after his wife filed an affidavit in this regard.

Faesal's wife told the high court that she recently met him in custody and has received instructions to withdraw the habeas corpus plea which requires a person under detention or illegal custody to be brought before a court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Centre, did not oppose the withdrawal of the plea.

"A habeas corpus has been filed by a parokar (next friend) seeking release of the petitioner (Faesal). Today, the counsel appearing for the petitioner has handed over an affidavit filed by the wife of the petitioner seeking direction to withdraw with liberty to seek remedy in law available at an appropriate time. "The Solicitor General, appearing for Union of India, has no objection to prayer of withdrawal... Consequently the petition is dismissed as withdrawn," the bench said.

The high court also made it clear that it had not expressed its opinion on the controversy or the arguments and that Faesal was at liberty to pursue remedies under law at an appropriate time. The former IAS officer's habeas corpus petition alleged that he was illegally detained at the Delhi airport on August 14 and taken back to Srinagar, where he has been kept under house arrest.

Faesal has also filed an application seeking a copy of the Look Out Circular (LOC) issued against him. The former IAS officer claimed in his petition that he was on his way to Harvard University in the US for higher studies when he was illegally detained at the Delhi airport under the Public Safety Act (PSA). He was taken to Srinagar.

His counsel had contended that the LOC does not permit authorities to arrest Faesal and take him back to Srinagar even when he kept on insisting that he does not wish to go there as his wife and child were in Delhi itself. Faesal, through his lawyer, had claimed that LOC issued against him was prima facie a mala fide exercise of power and no reasonable ground was made out for it.

The submissions filed on behalf of Faesal said a copy of the LOC was not provided to him and no details of the contents have been given in the Jammu and Kashmir government's reply which submitted in response to his habeas corpus petition. The Jammu and Kashmir government had earlier claimed in its affidavit that Faesal "instigated" people gathered at Srinagar airport against the sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Faesal had no student visa, though he claimed that he was going to the US for studies, the state administration, through DIG, CKR, Srinagar, had said in an affidavit. Faesal's liberty is curtailed in accordance with statutory provisions and under an order passed by an executive magistrate in Budgam when he had refused to furnish a bond to keep peace, the administration had said, asserting that he was not in unauthorised custody.

The affidavit had stated that Faesal was apprehended on the spot on verbal orders of the executive magistrate who took action and asked him to furnish a bond of Rs 50,000 for keeping peace. He, however, refused to furnish the bond after which an order was passed by the magistrate, detaining the petitioner. The state administration had said it is inconceivable that he would leave the country at this juncture to pursue an academic course in the US.

The administration had said the order of the executive magistrate to detain Faesal was not challenged by anyone. It had said the petition mentioned that his wife met him at the detention centre. However, it is deliberately suppressed that he is housed in Hotel Centaur which is a posh hotel in Srinagar and she met him at the hotel.

In the aftermath of the Centre removing Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, Faesal had said the state was experiencing an "unprecedented" lockdown.


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