Kashmir’s PSA move against Farooq Abdullah blocks petition in Supreme Court
Rajya Sabha lawmaker Vaiko’s petition that wanted the Jammu and Kashmir government to produce former chief minister Farooq Abdullah was disposed of by the Supreme Court on Monday.
A bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told Vaiko to approach the appropriate court for relief since the government had issued orders to detain Farooq Abdullah under the state’s Public Safety Act. The detention order was issued hours before the top court was to take up Farooq Abdullah’s case two weeks ago.
The move was widely seen as part of the government’s effort to block Vaiko’s petition. The Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader had approached the top court with a habeas corpus petition (literally means, produce the body) to enforce the 81-year-old National Conference (NC) leader right to freedom of speech and expression and liberty.
At Monday’s hearing, Chief Justice Gogoi’s bench also transferred all petitions relating to restrictions placed by the government in Jammu and Kashmir after scrapping the state’s special status to a mint-fresh constitution bench led by Justice NV Ramana. The five-judge bench was constituted over the weekend to hear the challenge to Parliament abrogating Article 370.
The Supreme Court, which had earlier issued a notice to the government on Vaiko’s petition, was formally told about the detention orders today.
If the government invokes threat to security of the state against a person, he or she can be detained for up to two years without a trial.
To challenge a PSA order, a person may approach the government within 10 days of the order. If the representation is rejected, they may approach the high court within a period of two months. Such requests have to be heard by the high court’s special bench comprising three judges.
Supporters of Abdullah say the National Conference leader has been under house arrest since August 5 when the move to strip the state of its special status was announced in Parliament. But Union home minister Amit Shah had then said that Abdullah was neither arrested nor detained but was at home “out of his own free will”.
The NC insists it will legally and constitutionally challenge the PSA detention.