March 2020 News

Sara Pilot, Iltija Mufti Pleas To Be Heard On March 5

2 March 2020
Times of India
Dhananjay Mahapatra

New Delhi: The Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court on Monday that Sara Pilot must move the high court to challenge her brother and former CM Omar Abdullah's detention under the Public Safety Act. The SC should not entertain habeas corpus petitions when the HC was adjudicating challenges to various preventive detention orders, it said. The bench, however, said it was a matter of liberty and recalled that another petition by Iltija Mufti challenging the detention of her mother, ex-CM Mehbooba Mufti, was also pending. Though it was to be heard on March 18, the bench will now hear both on March 5. 'HC has nixed 68 Jammu and Kashmir detentions so far, upheld 11' Attorney general K K Venugopal told a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee that the high court had been adjudicating petitions challenging preventive detention orders since August 2019, when JK's special status was scrapped. 'The high court is seized of more than 350 habeas corpus petitions challenging detention orders. The HC has quashed 68 detention orders since August 2019 while confirming 11 detention orders. Petitioner (Sara) has failed to disclose a reason for not moving the HC,' Venugopal said. The JK government, in its reply affidavit, said the February 5 order detaining Omar Abdullah under PSA was confirmed by the advisory board on February 24. 'Omar Abdullah was and continues to be detained in conformity with the mandatory provisions of PSA and is kept in Hari Niwas, which has been temporarily declared a subsidiary jail,' it said. Sara claimed that since her brother was in detention since August 5, there could not have been any fresh material on his activities to warrant a fresh order for his further detention under PSA. In response, the government said, 'This assertion is fallacious and ignores that the subjective satisfaction of the detaining authority, the grounds of detention and the dossier clearly indicate that there exists a live and proximate link in the events that occurred in the past, the activities of the detenu and the possibility of such activities being prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.' It further added, 'The acts, which are easily available in public domain, on the detenu's part squarely fell within the realm of public order, as it was calculated to disturb public peace and tranquillity. It is needless to emphasise that the incitement of the public at large pertains to public order.' 'Considering the very peculiar geo-political position of JK and Ladakh and its geographical proximity with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the concept of 'public order' needs to be examined contextually... In view of the decision to abrogate Article 370 and in the peculiar situation emerging in the UTs of Jammu .