A petition was filed by the kin of a detenue – reportedly the aide of self-styled Sikh preacher Amritpal Singh – in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday seeking directions to the Punjab government through the state of Assam to ensure that the detenue (the petitioner’s brother) is allowed to meet an advocate of his choice and also to contact and meet his family members. The matter is listed for hearing on Tuesday at the high court.
The petitioner in this case is Surinder Pal Singh Aujla. Through counsels Navkiran Singh and Simranjit Singh, the petitioner has sought directions from the court that his brother (Gurinder Pal Singh Aujla alias Guri Aujla) who is detained at Dibrugarh Jail in Assam on the orders of the Punjab government under the National Security Act (NSA) be allowed to meet an advocate of his choice and also to contact and meet his family members so as to make him aware about his various fundamental and legal rights, besides facilitating him to file an effective representation before the state government at the earliest as provided under Section 8 of the NSA. Surinder Pal Singh Aujla has mentioned in the petition that his brother, since the day of detention, has no contact with his family, and neither any of his relatives have been informed about the fact of his detention under NSA in Assam nor the grounds for such detention.
Also, since the detention, neither family members of the detenue have any access to Gurinder Pal Singh Aujla nor the detenue has been allowed to make a phone call to any of his relatives. The petition stated that the kin are completely unaware of the whereabouts of all those detained under NSA. Also, the petition mentioned that the landline phone numbers of Dibrugarh Central Jail as mentioned on the jail website were not working, as the petitioner and other relatives of detenues and their advocates had tried several times to contact the prison officials of Assam, but to no avail.
The petition stated that Article 21 of the Constitution mandates that no-one should be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law. So, it is the duty of IGP Prisons, Assam, and SP Central Jail, Assam, to let the detainees contact/meet their family members and advocates.