The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to the Jammu and Kashmir administration over a plea challenging the detention of five persons in Kashmir following the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370 on August 5.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, to file his response within two weeks
On reports claiming that people can’t access the High Court due to the lockdown, CJI Gogoi said the court has received a report from the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir which rejected the claim. He, however, added that the apex court has also received some conflicting reports.
On the last date of hearing, the petitioner counsel Senior Advocate H Ahmadi had told the court that they could not approach the J&K HC due to the shutdown. Court had taken a stern view of this and sought a report from J&K chief justice.
The bench also said it would entertain a petition regarding alleged detention of children in Kashmir as the plea has raised “substantial issues” regarding minors. During the hearing, the apex court directed the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to file a report before it within a week.
Last week, while hearing a plea by child rights activist Enakshi Ganguly and former National Commission for Child Rights Chairperson Shanta Sinha, who highlighted the condition of children in J&K as reported in the media and sought the court’s intervention, CJI Gogoi had asked senior advocate H Ahmadi why he hadn’t moved the J&K High Court. Citing the lockdown, the counsel said this had made it difficult for people to access the court.
Citing the lockdown, the counsel said this had made it difficult for people to access the court. The CJI said it was a “serious matter. If people can’t approach HC, we will have to do something about it”. Asking the HC to file a report, the CJI observed that “if required, I will go personally and check”.
There is no official count but since August 5, as many as 4,000 people are said to have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir, almost 300 under the draconian Public Safety Act. Yet, because of the continuing lockdown, there have been barely a dozen habeas corpus petitions — pleas challenging the detention and asking the government to produce the detainee in court.