Sara’s petition in SC against PSA on Omar Abdullah: Judge recuses himself from hearing plea
Delhi, Feb 12: Supreme Court judge Justice M M Shantanagoudar on Wednesday
recused himself from hearing the plea filed by Sara Abdulla Pilot challenging
detention of her brother and NC leader Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety
plea came up for hearing before a three-judge bench comprising justices N V
Ramana, Shantanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna.
am not participating in this matter,” Justice Shantanagoudar said at the
bench said the plea could be heard on Thursday.
urged for issuance of a writ of habeas corpus for authorities to forthwith
produce Omar Abdullah before the Supreme Court and set him at liberty.
petition is represented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Gopal
said she was gravely concerned about the welfare, safety and security of her
brother. He was already under detention from August 5 last year — the day the
Centre removed the special rights of the Kashmiri people under Article 370 —
when the PSA was slapped on him on February 5, 2020.
said she was shocked to learn that, just like what happened to their father,
the government, had imposed a fresh lease of detention under the PSA on her
petition explained that Omar Abdullah’s detention from August 5 under Section
107 Cr. PC (security for keeping the peace) was scheduled to end on February 5,
2020. His release was imminent. He had served the maximum period of detention.
February 5, the Executive Magistrate, instead of releasing Omar, ordered his
further detention under Section 8 of the PSA of 1978 in an “arbitrary exercise
asked what the point was of detaining a man already detained through the long
months of lockdown suffered across Jammu and Kashmir.
fact, during the past six months there had been no effort by authorities to
verify the truth behind the “information” that Omar Abdullah was a threat to
peace. On the other hand, there were reams of material in the form of tweets
and public statements vouching for his exemplary conduct to maintain peace, she
urged there was danger to her brother’s life and liberty.
government, in its PSA dossier against charging Omar, described him as a threat
to public safety. It said he was “planning activities against the Union
government”. It also highlighted “his popularity and potential to draw voters
to polling booths”.
writ petition argued that the detention order was illegal as it conflated
‘governmental policy’ with the ‘Indian State’, suggesting that any opposition
to the former constituted a threat to the latter.
is wholly antithetical to a democratic polity and undermines the Indian
Constitution,” it added.
the dossier and detention order contain “patently false and ridiculous
material, essentially accusing the detenu of becoming a popular figure among
general masses”. The grounds of detention were at best “illusory, vague and
irrelevant”, Sara contended.
petition argued that if a petitioner’s personal liberty had already been taken
away, there would be no fresh material or grounds for his further detention.
Hence, the new detention order under the PSA was simply “motivated by malice”.
petition narrated how at one point of time during his over six-month detention,
Omar had refused the government’s overture to set him free in exchange for an
undertaking that he would not participate in public assemblies in connection
with the de-operationalisation of Article 370.
other former J&K Chief Ministers —Omar’s father Farooq Abdullah and
Mehbooba Mufti — remained detained under the PSA along with other leaders.