Omar Abdullah
Omar Abdullah
Litigation News

Supreme Court issues notice in plea challenging detention of Omar Abdullah under Public Safety Act

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court today issued notice to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir in the habeas corpus petition filed challenging the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978.

The Habeas Corpus Petition has been filed by his sister, Sara Pilot.

Notice was issued today by a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee, before whom the matter came after Justice MM Shantanagoudar recused from hearing the matter.

Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal informed the Court that Omar Abdullah's detention was initially under Section 107 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). He added that the detention was subsequently extended on February 5 after passing fresh order under the PSA.

Assailing the grounds mentioned in the PSA dossier, Sibal remarked that Omar Abdullah had himself been in custody for over six months and no ground for continued detention was made out.

The Court also asked Senior Advocate Sibal if any other habeas corpus Petition had been filed by him or anyone else before the High Court. To this, Sibal responded that this challenge pertained to the detention order which was passed earlier this month under PSA and he had not moved the High Court against the same.

The Court subsequently issued notice to the J&K administration and proceeded to list the matter after three weeks. Stating that it was a habeas corpus and a matter of liberty, Senior Advocate Sibal urged the Court to give a shorter date.

The Court then proceeded to grant a date after two weeks while observing that when the Petitioner has waited for this long, two more weeks would not make a difference.

The matter would be heard next on March 2. The petitioner was represented by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

In her plea, Pilot has urged the Supreme Court to order the release of Abdullah who has been under state detention for over six months now.

The petition points out that the initial detention order against Abdullah under Section 107 of the 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.

The petition has been filed by Advocate Pragya Baghel and drawn by Advocate Shariq J Reyaz. The petition has been settled by Senior Advocates Kapil Sibal and Gopal Sankaranarayanan.

Abdullah, and other political leaders from J&K, including his father Farooq Abdullah, were detained in the wake of the Central Government's move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution of India in August last year.

Read the Order:

Sara Abdullah Pilot vs UT of J&K - Feb 14.pdf
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