Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah
Litigation News

Jammu & Kashmir authorities defend detention of Omar Abdullah before Supreme Court, says he's a threat to public order

Shruti Mahajan

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the Jammu & Kashmir authorities have defended the move to keep former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah under detention on the ground that he remains to be a threat to public order.

The affidavit has been filed by the District Magistrate (DM) defending the continued detention of Abdullah, who has been detained under the Public Safety Act.

The DM has added that the dossier against Abdullah, based on which the detention order was passed, indicates that there existed "live and proximate links" between Abdullah and the "past incidents". His actions, therefore, could be prejudicial to public order and tranquility, it is submitted.

Claiming that there are sufficient grounds for Abdullah's detention, the affidavit justifies the same by saying that the law is set on the issue of detention and provides for past incidents of inclination to cause prejudice to public order to be taken into account.

"It is trite law that the past conduct or antecedent history of a person can appropriately be taken into account in making a detention order."
Affidavit submitted by District Magistrate

It is argued that the acts of Abdullah fell "squarely within the realm of public order", and these acts of his are easily available in the public domain.

Abdullah had been placed under preventive detention under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) since August 2019, when the decision to revoke the special status of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was taken. The Public Safety Act (PSA) was subsequently invoked against him, which led to his prolonged detention.

Justifying the move to invoke the PSA against a person already in custody, the affidavit places reliance on the Supreme Court's judgment in the case of Kamarunnisa v. Union of India.

It is further argued,

"...Assertion of the detenue that merely due to the efflux of time, due to the Detenue being in custody u/S 107 of the CrPC, there exist no material justifying the apprehension of public order being affected, is ex-facie erroneous."
Counter submitted by J&K authority

The move to approach the Supreme Court at the first instance to challenge Abdullah's detention is also questioned by the authorities. The reason for not approaching the High Court in challenge of the detention order is not made clear by the detenu or the petitioner, it is argued. This was a point also raised by Attorney General KK Venugopal during today's hearing.

The Supreme Court, however, taking note of the sensitive issue of liberty of an individual involved, has fixed the date for final disposal of the matter on Thursday, March 5. The petitioner - Abdullah's sister Sara Pilot - has been given liberty to file any counter in the meantime if she so wishes.

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