SC asks Cenre, JK Admin ‘if they are going to release Omar Abdullah soon
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to inform by next week if it is releasing former chief minister Omar Abdullah, who has been detained since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah told the counsel appearing for the Centre that Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot’s plea against his detention will be heard on merit if he is not released soon.
“If you are releasing him, then release him soon or we will hear the matter on merits,” the bench said.
The observations came after counsel for the Centre and the J&K administration informed the court that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing in the matter, is arguing in another court.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioner, said the court should fix a short date for hearing the matter.
To this, the bench said only six benches are functioning due to the ongoing arrangement in the apex court and it does not know when the next turn will come.
“Probably next week we are sitting and the matter will be taken up at that time,” the bench said.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration had said in the court that freeing Abdullah will pose imminent threat to public order, a claim which was disputed by Sara Abdullah Pilot on Monday.
Pilot, in her rejoinder, said that on scrutiny of the verified Facebook account of her brother she was shocked to discover that the social media posts, purportedly attributed to him and maliciously used against him, were not made by him.
Pilot claimed that the official Facebook account of Abdullah, being a blue tick marked verified account, has not made any post as claimed in the relied upon material.
The rejoinder said the entire exercise from the very inception was “malicious, malafide, vexatious and suffers from manifest non-application of mind” on part of the senior superintendent of police as well as the Jammu and Kashmir administration and is liable to be quashed with immediate effect with exemplary costs/strictures being imposed upon the respondents for such blatant and arbitrary abuse of power.
It said certain material was not provided to the detenu earlier and it has now been placed on record along with the affidavit by the Jammu and Kashmir administration and non-supply of material, at the inception, impaired the detenu’s constitutional right of effective representation under Article 22(5) of the Constitution.
The material which has formed the basis of order of Abdullah’s detention does not even remotely lead credence to the apprehension that the detenu was likely to indulge in activities that are prejudicial to maintenance of public order, it said.
Pilot had also denied the contention of the Jammu and Kashmir administration that she should have moved the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to avail his remedy before approaching the apex court.
The rejoinder added that the Republic of Pakistan is in close geographical proximity to three other states of India (Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan) as well and by the extended logic of the Respondent no. 2, the ‘public order’ in such states would also be contextually modified.