New Delhi, Aug 8: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought the Jammu and Kashmir government’s response to a petition alleging “custodial torture” of Talib Hussain, who was part of an agitation that had erupted following the gang rape and murder of an eight year old girl in Kathua in January. Police arrested Hussain in the wake of an FIR against him in the rape case.
The petitioner Mumtaz Ahmed Khan has alleged that Hussain was being framed for his role in the campaign to ensure justice for the child victim who was from a nomadic community. Issuing notice to the state government, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud also sought the assistance of the Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Indira Jaising told the court that she was only concerned about the custodial torture and not with any other issues. Jaising cited several judgements of the top court and that of the US Federal Court contending that even in custody a person enjoys his constitutional rights. As the court asked why habeas corpus petition has been filed when arrest of Talib Hussain is lawful, Jaising said that arrest may or may not be lawful but the custodial torture makes things unlawful and therefore the habeas corpus petition. As Justice Khanwilkar said that the relief that petitioner was seeking could be given by the magistrate court, Jaising said that “I will seek my remedy when it comes to bail”. The court allowed the lawyer Chandan Sharma for the rape victim to make an application for impleadment as he told the bench that what it has been told was a distortion of facts. The petitioner has contended that Talib Hussain — an activist — was being singled out as he had led the public campaign for justice for the Kathua victim. The court posted the matter for further hearing on August 21. (IANS)