The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration after hearing the plea of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah’s sister, Sarah Abdullah Pilot, challenging his detention under the Public Safety Act, PTI reported. The court said it will hear Pilot’s plea again on March 2.
The bench did not heed advocate Kapil Sibal’s repeated submissions asking for an earlier date of hearing, Live Law reported. “If the sister could wait for such a long period, 15 days won’t make a difference,” Justice Arun Mishra remarked.
“We were hopeful that as this is a habeas corpus case, that the relief would be sooner,” Pilot told reporters after the hearing, according to ANI. “But we have full faith in the justice system. We’re here because we want that all Kashmiris should have the same rights as all citizens of India and we’re waiting for that day.”
The court had pushed the hearing to Friday after Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar recused himself from the case on Wednesday. The plea, moved by Pilot, was first mentioned before a bench led by Justice NV Ramana on Monday. The top court had agreed to consider the request for an urgent hearing in the matter.
Omar Abdullah, along with former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and a few other Kashmiri politicians, has been charged under the Act since February 6. Under the PSA, a person may be detained without trial for three to six years. These leaders have been in detention for six months now since the Centre amended Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to abrogate the region’s special status, and bifurcated it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The habeas corpus plea filed by Pilot demands the physical presence of Abdullah and the quashing of his detention order. Pilot said in her petition that the dossier “contains patently false and ridiculous material, essentially accusing the detenue of becoming a popular figure among general masses and possessing considerable influence over people”.
These leaders have been in detention for six months now since the Centre hollowed out Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to abrogate the region’s special status, and bifurcated it into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.”
The government dossier used to charge Abdullah reportedly stated that he had “considerable influence” and had the ability to draw voters to polling booths. It also stated that he had allegedly tried to provoke people through Twitter against the revocation of the erstwhile state’s special status on August 4, a day before the Centre formally announced it in Parliament. However, no tweets were cited to support the accusations.
Former Chief Minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah was charged under the PSA on September 17. It was extended by three months in December.
Several Opposition leaders have questioned the government’s move to charge the politicians under the stringent law.