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Lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir: Vaiko moves Supreme Court for production of Dr Farooq Abdullah
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Lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir: Vaiko moves Supreme Court for production of Dr Farooq Abdullah

Meera Emmanuel

MDMK leader and Rajya Sabha member, Vaiko has moved a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to produce former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is currently under detention along with other mainstream leaders of J&K, following the Central Government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.

In the plea filed today, Vaiko has prayed that the Court intervene so that Dr Abdullah may be allowed to travel to Chennai to attend an annual conference organised by the MDMK, scheduled to take place on September 15, this year.

The petition was moved after Vaiko’s representation in this regard, dated August 29, to government authorities failed to yield any response.

Therefore, Vaiko has now approached the Supreme Court contending that it would amount to a violation of fundamental rights to free speech and expression if Dr Abdullah is not allowed to be released for attending the MDMK conference. Pertinently, the petition states,

“That the Petitioner’s (MDMK) conference is an embodiement of this right to free speech and expression which is enshrined under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India, as it fosters a spirit of democratic debate and inquiry in a respectful and peaceful environment

…That by placing Dr Abdulla in wrongful detention without any authority of law and not allowing him to attend the Petitioner’s conference the primary fundamental right of protection of life and liberty guaranteed by the Constitution of India has been deprived….

… That by not allowing Dr Abdulla to attend the Petitioner’s conference and express his views in a democratically sanctioned manner, the right to an individuals’s right to speech and expression is being unreasonably and illegally curtailed by the Respondents.”

Notably, Vaiko has also registered protest over the continuing detention of political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, contending that,

“… the Respondents have imposed an ‘undeclared emergency’ in the State of Jammu and Kashmr and have placed an entire state in lockdown for the past one month and has further dealt a body-blow by arresting democratically elected representatives who were instrumental in strengthening democracy in the State.

….there is conflict between power and liberty and the constitutional courts of the land ought to act as a ‘check and balance’ when the exectutive illegal usurps fundamental rights of lakhs of citizens instead of shielding the executive under the false pretext of national security and integrity. 

In this backdrop, Vaiko has urged the Supreme Court to exercise its extraordinary jurisdiction on an urgent basis and, “pass writ, order/direction under article 32 of the Constitution of India directing the Respondents to produce the body of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, former Chief Minster of Jammu and Kashmir before this Honourable Court and set him at liberty and permit him to attend the conference being organised by the Petitioner in Chennai, Tamil Nadu on 15.09.2019.”