Overturning the the orders of the Hyderabad Police Commissioner and two GOs issued by the State government, the Telangana High Court on Saturday ordered the immediate release, provided if he is not required in any other criminal case, of Syed Abdahu Quadri alias Kashaf, who had been detained under the Preventive Detention Act.
However, the court placed limitations on his release, noting that no one other than his close family members, four in all, shall be present inside or outside the jail at the time of his release. After his release, Kashaf should not participate in or conduct any celebratory rallies or meetings, nor give any interviews to any media outlet, and not make any inflammatory remarks against any religion or publish any disparaging or offensive messages on any social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube in the future.
A bench of the High Court, comprising Justices A Abhishek Reddy and Juvvadi Sridevi, said unequivocally that the opinions and remarks expressed by this court in the current decision were only for the purpose of effectively adjudicating the legality of the detention order. The criminal cases recorded against the detainees and pending adjudication before the criminal courts shall be dealt with independently on their own merits, without regard to any of the remarks expressed in this order. Earlier, Gazala Firdous, mother of Kashaf, had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking a direction to the government to produce her son before the court and declare his detention under the Provisions of PD Act as illegal by setting aside the order of detention passed by the Commissioner of Police, Hyderabad.
Counsel for the petitioner said that the detention order was issued mechanically and without thought. “Already, criminal charges have been filed against the detainee. Despite the fact that he was granted bail in one instance and served with a notice under Section 41-A of the CrPC, he remained in judicial custody due to the issuance of the detention order. Under these conditions, the detaining authority’s assumption that the detainee will conduct comparable crimes is completely unfounded,” counsel said.
He said that the two offences relied on by the detaining authority do not sum up to “disturbing public order,” and they are restricted within the ambit and extent of the term “law and order,” thus there was no need for the detaining authority to utilise the harsh preventative detention statute against the detainee. Counsel said that the order amounts to a tainted exercise of power, and is legally unsustainable.
In response, the Government Pleader supported the challenged decision and claimed that the detainee was a ‘goonda’. He has been posting provocative and inflammatory words and films, promoting enmity and ill will among Muslims and Hindus. Furthermore, the respondent authorities’ concern that he may conduct a similar crime in the near future is not misplaced.
The alleged offences committed by the detainee posed a widespread threat to communal cohesion. As a result, the detaining authority’s decision to issue the contested detention order was legally warranted. The detaining authority fully followed all legal conditions while issuing the contested custody order, the Government Pleader said.