Supreme Court issues notice to J&K govt on plea challenging Omar Abdullah’s detention under PSA

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National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.

The Supreme Court on Friday sought a response from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea by National Conference leader Omar Abdullah's sister, Sara Pilot, challenging his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

The bench, headed by Justice Arun Mishra, also refused an urgent hearing by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, who is appearing for Pilot, and fixed the next date for March 2.

"We were hopeful that since its a habeas corpus case, it would be heard sooner. But we have faith in the justice system," Pilot told reporters outside the court.

In the plea, Sara had contended that Omar’s detention under the PSA was “ex-facie mala fide, for entirely political considerations” and urged court to quash it.

The petition stated, “It is rare that those who have served the nation as Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers of a state, ministers in the Union, and have always stood by the national aspirations of India are now perceived as a threat to the state.”

The grounds on which the detention has been ordered are “false and illusory to the extent of being non-existent and are not grounds within the contemplation” of the PSA, it contended.

“Apart from the obvious fact that disagreement with the policies of the Central government is a lawful right of a citizen in a democracy (especially to a member of the Opposition), 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 said.

It added that at no point of time in his “prolific political career”, has Omar resorted to or indulged in conduct unbecoming of a “conscientious public figure”.