1 Aug 2023 6:56 AM GMT
"A fundamentalist Muslim cannot be equated with an extremist or a separatist," the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court observed recently.The remarks were made by single bench of Justice Atul Sreedharan while dealing with a petition challenging preventive detention of a 22 years old Muslim man inter alia on the ground that he has become a “hard core fundamentalist”...
"A fundamentalist Muslim cannot be equated with an extremist or a separatist," the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court observed recently.
The remarks were made by single bench of Justice Atul Sreedharan while dealing with a petition challenging preventive detention of a 22 years old Muslim man inter alia on the ground that he has become a “hard core fundamentalist” and voluntarily agreed to work as Over Ground Worker of the TRF (The Resistance Front), alleged LeT outfit.
The bench observed,
"The usage of the phrase “fundamentalist ideology” by the District Magistrate, does not necessarily mean that the detenue possess an extremist or separatist ideology. The Oxford „Fundamentalist ideology‟ is part and parcel of the Abrahamic faith where the adherents have to necessarily believe in 4 certain fundamentals of the religion to be accepted as the adherents of that religion. Therefore, someone who steadfastly pursues or follows the fundamentals of an Abrahamic faith, is undoubtedly a fundamentalist but there is no negativity associated with it and it is distinct from an extremist or a separatist."
So far as Petitioner's case is concerned, Court said,
"Fundamentalist an adherent of fundamentalism‟ pertaining to a Muslim who is a fundamentalist is merely someone who believes in the fundamentals of Islam and steadfastly pursues the same. It cannot have a negative bearing on his personality. The same is as a fundamentalist Muslim cannot be equated with an extremist or a separatist. Therefore, the said ground also is vague and has been used lucidly without proper understanding."
The detention order issued by the District Magistrate of Pulwama cited that it was necessary to prevent the detenu from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State. This order was challenged by the detenu's father.
One of the main contentions put forth by petitioner's counsel Shabir Ahmad Dar was that the grounds of detention were not communicated to the detenu in his native language but in English. However, the court observed that the detenu had signed the execution report in English, and he had studied up to 11th standard, indicating a basic understanding of the language. Therefore, the court held that this could not be considered a violation of the law, as the detenu himself did not claim any language barrier.
Another argument presented by the petitioner was that the grounds of detention were vague, non-specific, and based on speculations and conjectures. The court agreed with this contention and noted that the grounds failed to provide specific details regarding the date and nature of the alleged acts prejudicial to the nation. Moreover, the court found that there was no statement from any witness making direct allegations against the detenu.
In view of the same, the bench quashed the detention order and directed that detenu be set at liberty forthwith.
Case Title: Shahbaz Ahmad Palla.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 202
Counsel For Petitioner: Mr. Shabir Ahmad, Advocate
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