SC is­sues no­tice to J&K admn over Omar’s de­ten­tion

Top court dis­misses re­quest to list the mat­ter for next week, sets March 2 as the dead­line for J&K ad­min’s re­sponse

Hindustan Times (Bathinda) - - Front page - Mu­rali Kr­ish­nan let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

NEWDELHI: The Supreme Court on Fri­day is­sued a no­tice to Union Ter­ri­tory of Jammu & Kash­mir in a pe­ti­tion filed by Sara Ab­dul­lah Pi­lot chal­leng­ing the de­ten­tion of her brother and for­mer J&K chief min­is­ter Omar Ab­dul­lah un­der the Jammu & Kash­mir Pub­lic Safety Act (PSA).

A HABEAS COR­PUS PE­TI­TION PRAYS FOR PRO­DUC­TION OF OMAR AB­DUL­LAH IN THE SC, AR­GU­ING THAT HE IS A VOTARY OF PEACE AND THERE IS EV­I­DENCE TO PROVE THE SAME

NEWDELHI:THE Supreme Court on Fri­day is­sued a no­tice to the Union Ter­ri­tory of Jammu & Kash­mir in a pe­ti­tion filed by Sara Ab­dul­lah Pi­lot chal­leng­ing the de­ten­tion of her brother and for­mer Jammu & Kash­mir (J&K) chief min­is­ter Omar Ab­dul­lah un­der the Jammu & Kash­mir Pub­lic Safety Act (PSA).

The J&K ad­min­is­tra­tion has to re­spond by March 2, which is the next date of hear­ing.

Ab­dul­lah, 49, was booked on February 5 un­der PSA which al­lows au­thor­i­ties to de­tain a per­son with­out trial for a max­i­mum pe­riod of two years.

Ab­dul­lah was de­tained in Au­gust 2019, when the Cen­tre nul­li­fied Ar­ti­cle 370 and placed Kash­mir val­ley in a state of lock­down. His de­ten­tion in 2019 was un­der Sec­tion 107 of the Code of Crim­i­nal Pro­ce­dure, which em­pow­ers an ex­ec­u­tive mag­is­trate to order a per­son to ex­e­cute bonds “for keep­ing the peace”.

His de­ten­tion was set to ex­pire in February 2020 when a new de­ten­tion order was is­sued on February 5 un­der PSA.

A plea by se­nior coun­sel Kapil Sibal, ap­pear­ing for Sara Ab­dul­lah Pi­lot, to hear the case on an ear­lier date was turned down by the bench of jus­tices Arun Mishra and Indira Ban­er­jee.

When jus­tice Mishra ques­tioned why the pe­ti­tion­ers had waited “for a year” to move the court, Sibal pointed out that the ini­tial de­ten­tion was un­der Sec­tion 107 of CRPC, while the fresh de­ten­tion un­der PSA hap­pened only on February 5 and the pe­ti­tioner ap­proached the court im­me­di­ately af­ter that.

The bench, how­ever, posted the case for hear­ing on March 2.

In her Habeas Cor­pus pe­ti­tion, Sara prayed for the pro­duc­tion of Ab­dul­lah in the Supreme Court, ar­gu­ing that he is a votary of peace and there is over­whelm­ing ev­i­dence to prove the same.

“...the Dossier handed over to the de­tenu along with the order of de­ten­tion un­der the PSA con­tains patently false and ridicu­lous ma­te­rial, es­sen­tially ac­cus­ing the de­tenu of be­com­ing a pop­u­lar fig­ure among gen­eral masses and possess­ing con­sid­er­able in­flu­ence,” the pe­ti­tion said.

The pe­ti­tion re­ferred to Ab­dul­lah’s tweets and pub­lic state­ments, which Sara said was proof that there was no like­li­hood of Ab­dul­lah in­dulging in ac­tiv­i­ties which would be detri­men­tal to pub­lic order in­clud­ing his tweets cau­tion­ing people against vi­o­lence.

The pe­ti­tioner said that af­ter the lapse of the ear­lier de­ten­tion order, ex­is­tence of fresh grounds and ma­te­rial were es­sen­tial for or­der­ing his fur­ther de­ten­tion. But no such ma­te­rial, which jus­ti­fied the PSA order, had been un­earthed, the pe­ti­tioner said.

“..On ex­piry of an order of de­ten­tion, a new order of de­ten­tion can­not be is­sued with­out the ex­is­tence of new facts/ grounds and new ma­te­rial sub­stan­ti­at­ing such grounds and any such order passed with­out such new facts and ma­te­rial would be il­le­gal,” the pe­ti­tioner ar­gued.

Fur­ther, it was her ar­gu­ment that none of the grounds in the de­ten­tion order dis­close pre­cisely which pro­hib­ited ac­tion listed in Sec­tion 8(3)(b) of the PSA was com­mit­ted or likely to be com­mit­ted by Ab­dul­lah. Such ac­tions in­clude us­ing force or in­sti­gat­ing use of force to dis­turb pub­lic order, pro­mot­ing ha­tred or dishar­mony.

This, Sara al­leged, showed com­plete non-ap­pli­ca­tion of mind and a me­chan­i­cal ex­er­cise of power by the District Mag­is­trate, who passed the de­ten­tion order.

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