Rajya Sabha MP Vaiko on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court with a habeas corpus plea seeking production of Lok Sabha MP and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, who he claimed is not being allowed to attend a seminar organised in Chennai.
Vaiko, also general secretary of the MDMK party, petitioned that he is organising a conference in Chennai on September 5 on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai “in the spirit of peaceful democratic debate and discussion so as to strengthen the unity and integrity of India”.
He mentioned that he has been organising the event for many years, and that political leaders from across the country are taking part in it. According to the petition, Abdullah was invited and had agreed to attend the event.
Vaiko submitted that the National Conference leader had attended previous editions of the conference. “However, on or around 05.08.2019, Dr Farooq Abdullah was placed under detention in Srinagar. Despite his efforts the Petitioner was unable to contact him,” the petition stated.
Following this, Vaiko stated, he wrote to the Union government and the J&K administration, requesting them to allow Abdullah to travel to Chennai “in order to attend the conference in the interest of freedom of speech and in the spirit of encouraging democratic participation”. But, he submitted, “the Respondents have failed to reply to the letter/representation, which by implication is a denial of
The action of the respondents — the Centre and the J&K administration — are “completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to protection of life and personal liberty, right to protection from arrest and detention, and also against right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation”.
Vaiko contended that the Centre and the state administration have imposed an “undeclared emergency” in J&K and placed “an entire state in lock-down for the past one month and dealt a body-blow by arresting democratically elected representatives who were instrumental in strengthening democracy in the state”.
The petition submitted: “This is a conflict between power and liberty and the constitutional courts of the land ought to act as a check and balance when the executive illegally usurps fundamental rights of lakhs of citizens instead of shielding the executive under the false pretext of national security and integrity…. The refusal…to allow Dr Farooq Abdullah to attend the peaceful and democratic conference organised by the Petitioner is illegal and arbitrary and violative of Articles 21, 22 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India.”
Through his plea, the Rajya Sabha MP urged the court to do the needful to enable Abdullah to attend the conference.