The Supreme Court 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 under detention since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year.
Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot’s plea against his detention will be heard on merit if he is not released soon, a bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah told the counsel appearing for the Centre.
“If you are releasing him, then release him soon or we will hear the matter on merits,” the bench said, news agency PTI reported.
The court’s observations came after the counsel for the Centre and the J-K administration said that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing in the matter, is arguing in another court.
Appearing for the petitioner, senior advocate Kapil Sibal 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.
On Monday, Sara Abdullah had questioned the J&K administration’s contention that public order in the region should be examined “contextually” keeping in mind its geographical proximity to the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.
In a rejoinder affidavit, Sara had said: “It is appalling to observe the statement of the Respondent no 2 (Srinagar District Magistrate) that the geographical proximity of the UT of J&K with the Republic of Pakistan is deemed to be an overarching feature that can contextually modify the concept of ‘public order’. Needless to add that Pakistan is in close geographical proximity to three other states of India (Gujarat, Punjab & Rajasthan) as well and by the extended logic of the Respondent no 2, ‘public order’ in such states would also be contextually modified…”
The rejoinder pointed out that some of the material supplied along with the affidavit filed by J&K in response to her petition challenging Omar’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) had not been provided to him earlier.
Last week, the J&K administration had revoked former chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s detention under PSA and set him free. Abdullah, the three-time former CM, National Conference president and Member of Parliament from Srinagar, was released from detention after 221 days.
With PTI inputs