Mehbooba Mufti’s Habeas Corpus Plea: SC Issues Notice to J&K Govt

The Supreme Court on Wednesday, 26 February, issued a notice to Jammu and Kashmir administration on the plea filed by former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti's daughter Iltija, challenging her mother’s detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978.

Mehbooba Mufti's daughter Iltija had filed a habeas corpus petition in the Supreme Court challenging her mother's detention.

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti was placed under preventive detention by J&K authorities on 5 February using the controversial J&K Public Safety Act. This followed six months of preventive detention under the Code of Criminal Procedure, from the day Article 370 was abrogated.

The petition specifically calls out the "hastily prepared" dossier prepared by J&K police that forms the basis of the PSA order against Mufti, which, it argues "betrays political bias and personal bias" against her. It is also alleged that the dossier is also "slanderous and libelous against the detenu, and completely unbecoming of a responsible officer".

The Quint had reported on the problematic details of the dossiers against Mufti and Omar Abdullah.

Also Read: Political Witch Hunt: Mehbooba Mufti’s Daughter Slams PSA Dossier

The petition objects to the following points raised in the dossier:

  • The Impugned Dossier describes the detenu ie Mehbooba Mufti as a “hard-headed and scheming mind.” It also describes her politics as “cheap” and the Detenu’s mindset variously to be “communal” , “divisive”
  • It also calls the political party which Mufti heads, ie Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, as of “dubious nature”. The petition argues that the PDP has formed popularly elected government twice in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, including the second time – in alliance with the present ruling party at the Centre.
  • It goes on to disapprove of the symbol of the PDP which is taken from the election symbol of “Muslim United Front” and claims that the colour green used by the party is “radical”.
  • The petition states that the Dossier vulgarly describes Mufti as “Daddy’s Girl” and insults her as “Kota Rani”. it also makes unwarranted comments on the marital status of Mufti terming that it did not “last long”.

It is pointed out that none of the charges in the dossier are substantiated, except by quoting some of Mehbooba Mufti’s social media posts.

Even these, it is argued, do not show that Mehbooba Mufti is a threat to public order, which is the basis on which the PSA order has been slapped against her. The petition notes that all these posts are at least six months old, if not older and are therefore "stale".

It is also argued that the language of the dossier, on which the PSA order is based, shows it was prepared with mala fide intent. The grounds for detention specified in the order are "ex-facie illusory to the extent of being vague and irrelevant", which means the relevant officer didn't apply his mind before ordering it, as required by law.

The petition also includes a paragraph-by-paragraph counter to the grounds of detention provided in the detention order against Mufti.

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