Challenging the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act, his sister on Monday has moved the Supreme Court. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana. Sibal told the bench that they have filed a habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Abdullah under the PSA and the matter should be heard this week. The bench agreed for an urgent listing of the matter.
Both the former Chief Ministers were booked under the PSA on the night of February 6, barely a few hours before their preventive detention was to end. The leaders were put under detention before the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. According to rules, preventive detention can be extended beyond six months only if an advisory board, constituted two weeks before the completion of the 180-day period, recommends for that. However, no such board was constituted and the Jammu and Kashmir administration was left with two choices -- either to release them or slap the PSA. Authorities cited proceedings of internal party meetings and social media influence of NC leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and "pro-separatist" stand of Mehbooba Mufti for booking them under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Omar's father, Farooq Abdullah, who is a five-time chief minister and currently a member of Lok Sabha, was booked in September last year under the PSA, a law which was enacted by his father Sheikh Abdullah in 1978 to fight timber smugglers in the state as they would easily get away with minimal detention those days.
Despite being detained under the Public Safety Act, oddly, the 81-year-old mainstream politician was recently included in a 21-member consultative committee on defense by the government. Abdullah, in a letter, had condemned the government for disallowing him to attend the winter session of the Parliament, wherein significant Bills were passed.