Justifying the prolonged detention of former chief minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA), the Jammu and Kashmir administration told the Supreme Court in an affidavit that the National Conference (NC) vice president, continues to be an 'imminent threat' to the public order. On Monday, the affidavit stressed the validity of Omar Abdullah's detention.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration, without reasoning, emphasised that it is essential for Omar Abdullah to continue the detention, citing 'sensitivity' of law and order. In addition, the affidavit submitted to the top court stated that Jammu and Kashmir's 'geographical proximity to Pakistan' should be taken into consideration.
The affidavit, which was submitted by District Magistrate before a Bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra, also claimed that Omar Abdullah has been a vocal critic of abrogating Article 370. Supreme Court on Monday posted for hearing on March 5 the petition of sister Sara Abdullah Pilot, challenging Omar Abdullah's detention.
A bench of Justice Arun Mishra posted the matter for hearing on Thursday after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that Jammu and Kashmir administration has filed an affidavit in the matter. Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench that no reason has been shown for not approaching the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, and added that in detention matters, one is supposed to approach the High Court at the first instance.
The plea, filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot, who is Omar's sister and the wife of Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, said the order of detention is manifestly illegal and there is no question of him being a "threat to the maintenance of public order". Sara, filing the habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Omar Abdullah under the PSA, said that exercise of powers by 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".
The plea has sought quashing of the February 5 order detaining Omar Abdullah under the PSA and also sought his production before the court. "The intent of exercise of power was to incarcerate not just him (Omar Abdullah) but the entire leadership of the NC, as well as the leadership of other political parties, who were similarly dealt with, including Farooq Abdullah, who has served the state and the union over several years... stood by India whenever the situation so demanded," the petition stated.
The plea said that there could be no material available to detain a person who has already been detained for the last six months. It added that the ground for the detention order is wholly lacking any material facts or particulars which are imperative for an order of detention. The Jammu and Kashmir administration had on February 5 invoked stringent PSA against the former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other top leaders in the erstwhile state.
(With ANI inputs)