The Supreme Court on Friday has issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration on the plea of Sara Abdullah Pilot, former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah’s sister, who had challenged her brother's detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978. The Court has asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to file a reply by March 2.
Speaking to the media after the hearing, Sara said, " We were hopeful that as it is a Habeas Corpus case, the relief would be sooner but we have full faith in the justice system and we want all Kashmiris should have the same rights as all citizens of India and we are waiting for that."
The petition was heard by a new division bench, comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Indira Banerjee after one of the three Supreme Court judges in the previous bench recused from the case. Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar announced his decision to step back from the case as soon as the bench took up the petition on Wednesday. “I am not participating in this matter,” he had said without citing any reason.
The previous bench comprised three judges - Justices NV Ramana, MM Shantanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna. Sara Pilot moved the Supreme Court on Monday challenging Omar Abdullah’s fresh detention under the PSA. Terming the February 5 order under the PSA “unconstitutional”, Omar’s sister said it violated fundamental rights and filed a Habeas Corpus petition.
Omar Abdullah, who has been in custody for six months, was detained hours before the Centre approached Parliament on August 5 last year to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution that granted special status to the erstwhile state, now split into two union territories. Sara said that exercise of powers by the authorities under the CrPC to detain individuals, including political leaders, was "clearly mala fide to ensure that the opposition to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution is silenced".
As he completed six months in custody, the government ordered his continued detention under the PSA that empowers authorities to hold any person for two more years.
(With agency inputs)