J&K – The issues around the state

J&K Public Safety Act

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the Act

Mains level : Issues with the act

  • A former IAS officer was recently detained under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA).

J&K Public Safety Act (PSA)

  • The Jammu and Kashmir PSA) which received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978.
  • The Act was introduced by the government of Sheikh Abdullah as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
  • The law allowed the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
  • It allows for administrative detention for up to two years in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State, and for administrative detention up to one year where any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.
  • Detention orders under PSA can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
  • Section 22 of the Act provides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act.
  • No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.

Issues with the act

  • It is often referred to as a “draconian” law.
  • However, right from the beginning, the law was misused widely, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents by consecutive governments until 1990.
  • After the emergence of militancy, the J&K government frequently invoked the PSA to crack down on separatists.
  • In the aftermath of the killing of a sympathized terrorist in July 2016, hundreds of youths in the Valley were detained under PSA, with extendable detention periods.
  • In August 2018, the Act was amended to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well.
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