The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea by Congress leader Saifuddin Soz’s wife, challenging his house arrest since August 5 last year, PTI reported. A bench headed by Justice Arun Mehta asked the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration to reply to Mumtazunnisa Soz’s plea by the second week of July.
In her plea, Mumtazunnisa Soz also sought that the detention order against her husband be quashed, and that he be produced in court. She alleged that the family has not yet been provided with the reason for Soz’s indefinite detention. Therefore, they have been unable to challenge it under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.
This makes Soz’s detention “illegal, mala fide and unconstitutional” as well as “extremely appalling”, Mumtazunnisa Soz claimed.
The Centre had abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5, imposed a curfew in the erstwhile state, and detained several important politicians. Apart from Soz, three former chief ministers of Jammu and Kashmir were also detained. The Public Safety Act was invoked against some of them.
Under the PSA, a person may be detained without trial for three to six years.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was one of the leaders against who the Public Safety Act was invoked. He was released on March 24. After his release, Abdullah had demanded the release of other Kashmiri politicians including former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Abdullah’s release order came less than a week after the Supreme Court asked the Centre to clarify on its intention to release him from detention.
The administration had released Abdullah’s father on March 13. Farooq Abdullah was detained at his residence in Gupkar Road in Srinagar. Several Opposition leaders had questioned the government’s move to charge the politicians under the stringent law.