News

Detention beneath PSA: Omar’s sister strikes SC


New Delhi, Feb
10: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s sister on Monday
moved the Supreme Court challenging his detention under the Public Safety Act.

Senior advocate
Kapil Sibal, appearing for petitioner Sara Abdullah Pilot, mentioned the matter
for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana.

Sibal told the
bench that they have filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention
of Abdullah under the PSA and the matter should be heard this week.

 

The bench agreed
to urgent listing of the matter.

In her petition,
Pilot has said that there could be no material available to detain a person who
has already been detained previously for six months.

“The grounds
for the detention order are wholly lacking any material facts or particulars
which are imperative for an order of detention,” the plea said, adding
that the detention order is “illegal”.

“It is rare
that those who have served the nation as members of Parliaments, Chief
Ministers of state, ministers in the union and have also stood by the national
aspirations of India are now perceived as a threat to the state,” the plea
said.

It said that on
the intervening night of August 4/5, 2019, Abdullah was put under house arrest.

“It was
later learned that Section 107 of Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 was invoked
justifying such arrest”.

“It is
therefore of the utmost importance and of the utmost urgency that this court
protects not only the individual’s Right to Life and Liberty but also protects
the essence of Article 21 which is the cornerstone of Part 3 of the
Constitution, a violation of which is anathema to all that a democratic nation
stands for,” the plea said.

“Finally the
order conflates governmental policy with the Indian state, suggesting that any
opposition to the former constitute a threat to the later.

This is wholly
antithetical to a democratic polity and undermines the Indian
constitution,” the petition said.

The plea has also
sought quashing of the February 5 order detaining Abdullah under the PSA.

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

The grounds also
mention his comments on social networking sites to instigate common people
against the decisions on Articles 370 and 35-A which had the potential of
disturbing public order.

Omar, who has
been junior foreign minister and commerce minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led
Cabinet in 2000, was served with a three-page dossier in which he was alleged
to have made statements in the past which were “subversive” in
nature.

The grounds also
mention his comments on social networking sites to instigate common people
against the decisions on Articles 370 and 35-A which had the potential of
disturbing public order.

Restrictions have
been put on communication links since August 5 last year.

These were
subsequently eased.

Internet is
functional at a few places through leased lines.

Mobile internet
facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special
instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites.


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