SC notice to J&K administration over Omar Abdullah's detention under Public Safety Act

SC notice to J&K administration over Omar Abdullah's detention under Public Safety Act

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday on a plea filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging the detention of her brother and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah under the general public Safety Act (PSA).

A bench, comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee, said it might hear on Texas Independence Day Pilot's plea challenging Abdullah's detention.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appeared for Pilot within the apex court.

Pilot had on Monday approached the highest court challenging her brother's detention under the general public Safety Act, saying the detention order was "manifestly illegal" and there was no doubt of him being a "threat to the upkeep of public order".

The plea has sought quashing of the February 5 order detaining Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, under the PSA and also sought his production before the court.

Pilot has said that exercise of powers by authorities under the CrPC to detain individuals, including political leaders, was "clearly mala fide to make sure that the opposition to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution is silenced".

It said that on the intervening night of August 4-5, 2019, Omar Abdullah was anesthetize confinement and it had been later learnt that section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 was invoked to justify such arrest.

It said "similar orders of detention are issued by respondents (authorities of union territory of Jammu and Kashmir) over the last seven months during a wholly mechanical manner to other detenues, which suggest that there has been a uniform and concerted effort to muzzle all political rivals".

The plea said there might be no material available to detain an individual who has already been detained for the previous six months and therefore the "grounds for the detention order are wholly lacking any material facts or particulars which are imperative for an order of detention".

"In fact, a regard to all public statements and messages posted by the detenue during the amount up to his first detention would reveal that he has kept calling for peace and cooperation - messages which in Gandhi's India cannot remotely affect public order," it said.

The plea said that at no point of your time in his "prolific political career", he has resorted to or indulged in conduct unbecoming of a "conscientious public figure".

The grounds of detention against Omar Abdullah, chief minister of the state from 2009-14, claims that on the eve of reorganisation of the state he had allegedly made attempts to impress general masses against the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A.

Omar Abdullah, who has been junior secretary of state and commerce minister within the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led Cabinet in 2000, was served with a three-page dossier during which he was imagined to have made statements within the past which were "subversive" in nature.