NEW DELHI – Considering a petition filed by Sara Abdullah Pilot against the detention — under the Public Safety Act — of her brother and former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir Omar Abdullah, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to file a response.
The case came up before Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee, and has been listed for hearing on March 2.
A plea was made by Abdullah’s lawyer Kapil Sibal to hear the case soon, but the court did not oblige. “No. Next on March 2. It cannot be next week. You have waited for so long to file this petition…” Justice Mishra said. “He (Omar) was under detention for the past six months… This is someone else, his sister, who has come (to plead her brother’s case),” Sibal replied.
Sibal told the court that there has been no delay as the petition challenges junior Abdullah’s detention under the PSA and not his past six-month confinement under Section 107. “This is the PSA. This is a habeas corpus. Please list the case next week. It is the law… This is a matter of personal liberty,” Sibal said, but the court refused to entertain the plea.
Sara Abdullah, the petitioner, prayed before the court that the authorities be asked to produce Omar Abdullah (Habeas Corpse) before the Supreme Court and also order his release from detention. Gopal Sankaranarayanan, senior advocate and counsel in the case, said Sara Abdulla was concerned about the welfare, security and safety of her brother.
The petition said Omar Abdullah was set to be freed from detention on February 5, as he had served the maximum period of detention under Section 107 of CrPC. However, the government booked Omar and Mehbooba Mufti under Public Safety Act (PSA), a draconian law generally invoked against Hurriyat leaders, rights activists and protesters.
The petitioner said that government had not tried to find the truth as to whether Abdullah was a threat to peace as claimed by authorities. Instead, Omar was urging for peace and he was still detained by authorities on August 4.
The petition said, “When her brother’s release was imminent, the petitioner has shockingly learnt about his new detention under PSA, under which father Farooq Abdullah also remains detained. PSA could have no application to one who has anyway been in custody over several months in a state that’s under a complete lock-down.”