Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah
Litigation News

PSA Detention of former J&K CM Omar Abdullah: Supreme Court gives J&K Administration a week to decide on release

The Court was hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by Abdullah's sister, Sara Pilot, challenging his renewed detention following a fresh order passed last month under the J&K Public Safety Act.

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court today deferred hearing in the Habeas Corpus plea for the release of former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah by a week.

The Court has asked the authorities of Jammu and Kashmir to take instructions on whether they intend to release Abdullah.

PSA Detention of former J&K CM Omar Abdullah: Supreme Court gives J&K Administration a week to decide on release

Abdullah's sister, Sara Pilot had moved a habeas corpus petition last month, urging that the Supreme Court to order the release of Omar Abdullah, who has been under detention for over seven months now.

Further, Pilot also prayed that the Court quash a fresh order of detention passed last month to detain Abdullah under the J&K Public Safety Act, 1978.

In a rejoinder affidavit filed by Pilot more recently, she has re-asserted that,

“The entire exercise from the very inception is malicious, malafide, vexatious and suffers from manifest non-application of mind… and is liable to be quashed with immediate effect with exemplary costs/strictures … for such blatant and arbitrary abuse of power.”
Sara Pilot in her rejoinder

Among various objections raised, Pilot asserts that the state authorities furnished new material to justify the renewed detention of Abdullah for the first time before the Supreme Court after she moved her plea.

This material was not supplied to Abdullah when the fresh detention order was passed, it is submitted, thereby infringing his Constitutional right to effective legal representation.

Further, it is argued that this material is founded on social media posts which have been maliciously attributed to Abdullah and used against him, when they were not made by him through his verified accounts.

To buttress her arguments further, Pilot also submits that some of the cited posts are now non-existent online. Contending that the same illustrates the malicious non-application of mind on the part of the authorities, Pilot submits that the PSA detention of Abdullah is void ab initial. She has reiterated,

“… reliance on posts that are non-existent that have been wrongly and maliciously attributed to the detenue vitiates the impugned order of detention in toto and renders the same unsustainable and utter unconstitutional.”
Sara Pilot in her rejoinder

Contending that the same illustrates the malicious non-application of mind on the part of the authorities, Pilot submits that the PSA detention of Abdullah is void ab initio.

The main petition points out that the initial detention order against Abdullah under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) had lapsed on February 5, this year.

In her plea, Pilot has challenged this order itself, particularly on contentions that the State has not conducted subsequent proceedings including the steps to undertake an inquiry in terms of Section 116, CrPC.

While this is the case, the petitioner has raised questions over a fresh order of detention being passed under the PSA on February 5. It is contended that the provisions of the PSA invoked to to continue detaining Abdullah would have no application to him since he has remained in custody for months in a state that has been under complete lockdown.

In this regard, the petitioner had argued that the Government did not produce any new grounds, or any material supporting any ground to justify a fresh order of detention.

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