The Supreme Court on Tuesday permitted former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to meet her daughter and son in detention, PTI reported. The court was hearing a fresh petition filed by Iltija Mufti, the daughter of the incarcerated Peoples Democratic Party chief, who had challenged her mother’s detention under the Public Safety Act and the two extensions in May and July.
A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy said detention cannot continue forever. “Detention for how long and under what order against Mehbooba Mufti,” Kaul asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre. “You’ll have to address us on the ground of detention and what is the maximum period and whether you can extend it beyond one year.”
Iltija Mufti has demanded the cancellation of detention orders and a compensation for her mother.
Advocate Nitya Ramakrishna, arguing for the petitioner, said that even in prisons, people were allowed to meet their family, according to Bar and Bench.
The judges said the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister should request authorities to allow her to attend party meetings. However, Mehta highlighted her statements made during the abrogation of Article 370, saying they have the potential to create disturbance.
“In exuberance, you say a lot of things that ought not to be said,” Kaul told Mehta in response. The solicitor general said such comments should not be made in a region with a history of militancy.
The court directed Jammu and Kashmir administration to respond to Iltija Mufti’s petition and also gave time to the Centre to respond to it. The matter will be heard next on October 15.
Mufti’s petition argued that “several grounds of detention, including the dossier, are stale, vague and that they suffer from non-application of mind, malice in law and violate the provisions of Section 8(3)(b) of the PSA”. She added that her mother had continued to be kept under detention because she had refused to sign a bond.
Mehbooba Mufti has been in detention for over a year, since the Centre scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution on August 5 to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, and split it into two Union Territories.
Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including two other former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah – were detained last year. Omar Abdullah was released seven months later on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13.