Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front
(JKLF) chief and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) spokesman have been booked under Jammu
and Kashmir’s Public Safety Act.
The Public Safety Act was enacted in
1978 to take action against the timber smugglers. It provides for administrative
detention for people against whom there may be no recognised criminal offence. Administrative
detention is the detention of a person by State without trial. It is preventive
detention i.e. imprisonment of a person with the aim of preventing them
from committing further offenses or for maintaining public order.
Originally, the Act allowed for detention
for a maximum of two years without trial in the case of persons acting in any
manner which is detrimental to the security of the state. It further
allowed for administrative detention of up to one year for disturbing public
order. Anyone above the age of 16 could be detained.
However, the Act was amended in 2011.
Under the amendments, the detention period of suspects was reduced from one
year to three months in cases of disturbing public order. It also reduced
the detention period from two years to six months in cases where security of
state is concerned. The minimum age for detention was also raised to 18 years
from 16 years.
The Public Safety Act has been highly
criticised by rights activists on the grounds that it is against human rights
and is being used as a tool to curb peaceful political dissent.