Supreme Court: Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar on Wednesday has recused from hearing the plea of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s sister, challenging his detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978. A three-judge Bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was scheduled to hear the case today after the matter was mentioned before the Court on Monday.
Another Bench has agreed to hear the case tomorrow. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sara, mentioned that he will not be available for the hearing on Thursday. Thus, the top court scheduled the matter for hearing on Friday i.e. February 14, 2020.
In her plea, Sara Abdullah Pilot, Omar’s sister and wife of Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot, said the order of detention is manifestly illegal and there is no question of him being a “threat to the maintenance of public order”. She also 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”.
The plea has sought quashing of the February 5 order detaining Omar Abdullah under the PSA and also sought his production before the court.
“The intent of exercise of power was to incarcerate not just him but the entire leadership of the National Conference, as well as the leadership of other political parties, who were similarly dealt with including Farooq Abdullah, who has served the State and the Union over several years… stood by India whenever the situation so demanded,”
The plea added that the grounds for the detention order are wholly lacking any material facts or particulars which are imperative for an order of detention. The Jammu and Kashmir administration on February 5 had invoked the stringent PSA against former Chief Minister Abdullah and People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti. Both the former Chief Ministers were detained after the government abrogated Article 370 last year.
On August 5, the Centre had abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and the Parliament had passed the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019, bifurcating the former state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Kashmir with legislature and Ladakh without one. Following this, a batch of petitions was filed in the top court challenging the move.