SC judge recuses from hearing plea against Omar’s detention
The judge did not give any reason for his decision to recuse himself from the case. The other judges on the bench were justices NV Ramana and Sanjiv Khanna.Updated: Feb 13, 2020 02:33 IST
One of the three Supreme Court judges hearing the plea against former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah’s detention recused himself from the case on Wednesday.
Justice Mohan M Shantanagoudar announced his decision to step back from the case as soon as the bench took up the petition filed by Omar Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot.
“I will not be part of this (matter)”, justice Shantanagoudar said.
The judge did not give any reason for his decision to recuse himself from the case. The other judges on the bench were justices NV Ramana and Sanjiv Khanna.
Justice Shantanagoudar’s decision led the top court to defer the hearing on the petition. A new bench will be constituted which will take up the case on Friday.
Omar Abdullah, 49, was booked under the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) on February 5, which allows authorities to detain a person without trial for a maximum period of two years.
Abdullah was earlier detained in August 2019, when the central government had scrapped Article 370 and placed the Kashmir valley in a state of lockdown. His detention in 2019 was under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which empowers an executive magistrate to order a person to execute bonds “for keeping the peace”.
He had been in custody for six months and his detention was set to expire onFebruary 5 when a new detention order was issued on the same day under the PSA. Abdullah’s father Farooq, leader of the National Conference, and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti are also in detention under the PSA. Both are former CMs of Jammu and Kashmir.,
Abdullah, who was the chief minister of J&K from 2009 to 2014, was accused of “favouring radical thoughts” and of “planning and projecting his activities against the Union of India under the guise of politic” while enjoying the support of gullible masses”. It was alleged that after the revocation of Article 370, he instigated people on social media sites to undermine the unity and integrity of India.
His sister rushed to the Supreme Court against the detention order, arguing that Omar Abdullah was a votary of peace and there was overwhelming evidence in the form of tweets and public statements made by him to prove it.
Sara Abdullah Pilot also extensively quoted from the government’s dossier on the former chief minister that formed part of the material which formed the grounds for the administration’s decision to issue the detention order.
The detention order, she claimed, is vague and irrelevant without any material facts and particulars.
Further, it was her argument that none of the grounds in the detention order disclose as to precisely which prohibited action listed in Section 8(3)(b) of the PSA was committed or likely to be committed by Abdullah.