Supreme Court seeks Jammu and Kashmir, govt’s response on Mehbooba Mufti’s detention
Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter questioned the detention of the former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister under the Public Safety Act (PSA) Act on Wednesday, saying it was based on vague and slanderous grounds that demonstrated personal and political bias against her.
A bench headed by justice Arun Mishra and comprising justices Vineet Saran and MR Shah issued notice to the central government and Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday and posted the case for hearing on March 18.
In a petition to the Supreme Court challenging the detention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader, Iltija Mufti submitted that the February 5 order shifting her mother from preventive custody to detention under PSA was based on a dossier prepared by the superintendent of police, Srinagar, replete with personal remarks.
“The detention order is wholly based on the dossier which is slanderous, libellous and clearly demonstrative of the political and personal bias against the detenu (Mehbooba Mufti)”, the habeas corpus petition stated.
Mufti has been under detention since August 5, 2019 when the Central government nullified Article 370 and moved to split Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.
Her detention in 2019 was under Section 107 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. She had been in custody for six months and her detention was set to expire when a new detention order was issued on February 5 under the PSA, which allows the administration to detain a person without trial for up to two years.
Iltija Mufti contended that the continued detention was because of the refusal by her mother to sign a general bond affirming that in case of release, she will not make any comment, deliver any speech or attend any public assembly related to the recent events in Jammu and Kashmir.
Iltija stated that the dossier was full of descriptions about Mufti that were in bad taste like “Daddy’s girl” and “Kota Rani”.
The dossier, it was claimed, also contained unwarranted remarks about the marital status of Mufti and described her as “hard headed” and possessing a “scheming mind”.
The detention order, Iltija told the court, was a gag order and violated the right to equality, free speech and liberty under Articles 14, 19 and 21, respectively, of the Constitution.
The detention of another former chief minister, Omar Abdullah, under the Public Safety Act has been challenged by his sister Sarah Abdullah Pilot before the Supreme Court.