'15 Days Won't Make a Difference': SC Gives March Date for Plea by Omar Abdullah's Sister Seeking His Release
Justice Arun Mishra gave the administration time till March 2 to file its reply to the habeas corpus plea despite strong appeals by lawyer Kapil Sibal.
NC leader and former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to Jammu and Kashmir to file its response to a plea filed by Omar Abdullah’s sister against his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act.
Justice Arun Mishra gave the administration time till March 2 to file its reply to the habeas corpus plea despite strong appeals by lawyer Kapil Sibal that it was a matter of personal liberty, a fundamental right.
“You’ve waited for so long, you’ve waited for a year to file this,” Justice Mishra told Sibal, who was representing Sarah Abdullah Pilot against the detention of former CM Omar Abdullah.
The judge did not budge when Sibal pointed out that Pilot's petition was against Abdullah’s detention under PSA and he hadn’t waited a year. “This has nothing to do with preventive detention. This is under the PSA. This is the law."
To this, Justice Mishra stated that if the sister could wait for such a long period, then 15 days won’t make a difference as he posted the matter for the next hearing on March.
Earlier, the court was giving the administration three weeks to file its reply, but shortened it to 15 days on Sibal’s insistence.
Arguing for the release, Sibal had asked the apex court to see the dossier prepared by the administration to justify the invocation of PSA against Abduallah. "It says that to avoid such statements by political leaders which might incite violence is one of the ground,” the senior lawyer told the court.
Pilot had on Monday moved the top court challenging her brother's detention under the Public Safety Act, 1978, saying the order of detention is "manifestly illegal" and there is no question of him being a "threat to the maintenance of public order".
The plea has sought quashing of the February 5 order detaining Abdullah under the PSA and also sought his production before the court. Pilot has 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".
Omar Abdullah and another former CM, Mehbooba Mufti, was charged under PSA along with half a dozen other state leaders. He was accused of being able to bring people out to vote “even at the height of militancy” (sic), which, the charges go on to say, gives him the capacity to incite protests against the voiding of Article 370.
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