Iltija Mufti files plea in SC seeking release of Mehbooba Mufti
Iltija Mufti, the daughter of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, has approached the Supreme Court seeking to modify her petition challenging the detention of her mother under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).
Mehbooba, the president of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was arrested on the eve of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and its bifurcation into Union Territories on August 5 last year.
In her application before the Supreme Court, Iltija said it has been filed praying for permission to amend the writ petition seeking inter alia a writ of habeas corpus. “The amendment sought is to include grounds of challenge and additional prayers for challenging the orders of confirmation (dated February 26) and subsequent extensions (May 5 and July 31) of the detention order (of Mehbooba) impugned in the writ petition,” the application reads.
The writ petition has challenged Mehbooba’s detention on several grounds. It contends that the grounds and the dossier for detention are “stale, vague and that they suffer from non-application of mind, malice in law and that they violate the provisions of Section 8(3)(b) of the PSA”. “The detention order based on stale grounds have become staler even more since the petition was filed and the respondent administration has continued to act with total non-application of mind and the malice in law has only been reinforced and aggravated in confirming and extending the order of detention for further periods,” it said.
Seeking permission to allow her to amend the section of the writ petition entitled Prayers, Iltija pleaded for issuance of the writ in the nature of habeas corpus commanding the respondents — the central and Jammu and Kashmir governments — to produce Mehbooba forthwith before the court for being set at liberty. Pleading for direction or order quashing the impugned order of detention and subsequent extension orders, the application sought appropriate compensation to Mehbooba for the “illegal detention that she has suffered” and to award costs of the litigation to the petitioner.
“I have challenged her PSA order and the subsequent extensions to ensure her continued detention. Her detention is illegal and questionable in a democracy,” Iltija said, adding “a key opposition leader has been jailed for over a year without recourse to trial.” She said the application has been filed to bring to the notice of the Supreme Court that the Jammu and Kashmir administration is yet to file a reply to its earlier order, which shows the respect the authorities have for courts. “We are also bringing to notice of court the treatment the former chief minister has received where she has been deliberately kept out of bounds for party people and barred from attending to her duties as PDP president,” she said.