The Supreme Court on Wednesday adjourned the hearing on a petition by Sara Abdullah Pilot challenging the detention of her brother and former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The top court will hear the matter on Thursday after one of the three judges — Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar — recused from the hearing. The other two judges are Justices NV Ramana and Sanjiv Khanna.
Abdullah and former CM Mehbooba Mufti were slapped with the PSA last week, six months after the J&K administration placed them under preventive detention following the scrapping of Article 370.
In her petition, Sara Pilot termed Omar Abdullah’s detention under PSA “ex-facie mala fide for entirely political considerations”. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Sarah, had mentioned the Habeas Corpus plea for urgent listing.
Stating that the grounds on which the detention had been ordered were “false and illusory”, the petition said Omar never resorted to or indulged in conduct unbecoming of a “conscientious public figure” in his political career.
“It is rare that those who have served the nation as Members of Parliament, chief ministers, ministers in the Union, and have always stood by the national aspirations of India are now perceived as a threat to the state,” the petition said.
“Apart from the obvious fact that disagreement with policies of the Central government is a lawful right of a citizen in a democracy (especially to an Opposition member), it is submitted that all such observations were not supported by any material – whether in the form of social media posts or otherwise,” the petition further stated.
Omar Abdullah’s ability to “convince his electorate to vote in huge numbers” were among the reasons cited by the J&K administration for invoking the PSA against him. The PSA dossier also accused Abdullah of trying to stoke public anger to trigger violent protests.
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