SC seeks J&K govt.’s response to plea against Omar Abdullah’s detention under Public Safety Act


The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Central Government and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the habeas petition filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging the detention of her brother and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Refusing to grant interim relief to Omar Abdullah, the court announced the next hearing in the case on March 2, 2020, directing the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file their reply by then.

Representing Sara Abdullah Pilot, advocate Kapil Sibal repeatedly sought for an earlier date but the bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee adjourned the hearing till March 2. “If the sister could wait for such a long period, then 15 days won’t make a difference,” Justice Mishra said.

The petition was initially listed on February 12 but following the recusal of Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar from the case, it was later posted to this bench.

Days before the six months period of detention of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti was about to end, fresh detention orders under PSA were issued against them. Abdullah was detained since August 5, 2019,  under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Sara Abdullah, in her petition, has alleged that the detention is based purely on political reasons. The petition stated that mere opposition to the policy enforced by the central government is being used to portray it as against the national interest to justify the detention. Citing these reasons, the petition states that the detention is unjustifiable under PSA, and therefore illegal and unconstitutional.

Sara has contended in her petition that since Omar was detained since August 4/5 under Section 107 of CrPC, the question of him being a threat to the maintenance of public order does not arise. “The exercise of the power is ex facie mala fide, for entire political considerations, and has nothing to do with necessary ingredients required for exercising powers under Section 8(1) of the Public Safety Act,” the petition states.

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