SC to hear plea against PSA charge on Omar Abdullah

NEW DELHI, Feb 11 (Agencies): The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear the plea by Sara Abdullah Pilot — sister of former J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah — challenging her brother’s detention under Public Safety Act.
A top court bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana agreed to listing of the plea by Sara Abdullah upon a mentioning by senior counsel Kapil Sibal seeking an urgent listing.
Omar Abdullah, his father and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah and other senior Kashmiri leaders are under detention since August 5, 2019, under the instructions of the Centre and the state administration following the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.
Sara Abdullah in her petition has contended that there could not be any new material for further detaining a person who is already under detention for last six months.
She has also sought quashing of the February 5, 2020, order detaining Omar Abdullah under the PSA.
Describing the detention as “illegal”, Sara Abdullah in her petition says, “The grounds for the detention order are wholly lacking any material facts or particulars which are imperative for an order of detention.”
Recounting the public service rendered by Omar Abdullah both in the J&K as chief minister and as a Central minister, the petition says, “It is rare that those who have served the nation as members of Parliaments, chief ministers of state, ministers in the Union and have also stood by the national aspirations of India are now perceived as a threat to the state.”
It further says, “It is therefore of the utmost importance and of the utmost urgency that this court protects not only the individual’s Right to Life and Liberty but also protects the essence of Article 21 which is the cornerstone of Part III of the Constitution, a violation of which is anathema to all that a democratic nation stands for.”

Sara Abdullah Pilot stated in her petition that her brother’s detention is a grave violation of his constitutional rights including freedom of speech, and noted that it is part of a “consistent and concerted effort to muzzle all political rivals.”
According to rules, preventive detention can be stretched beyond six months only if an advisory board, constituted two weeks before the completion of the 180-day period, directs for the same.
The PSA dossier prepared by the police to renew Omar Abdullah’s detention cited his ability to convince voters to turn out in huge numbers as one of the reasons for booking him under PSA.
He managed to maintain voter turnout even during the peak of militancy and poll boycott calls by separatist leaders, the dossier is reported to says.
The dossier reportedly mentions that Omar Abdullah was put under house arrest on the grounds of “provoking the general masses in Kashmir” when J&K was reorganised in August last year. It also accuses him of playing divisive politics and following a “radical methodology.”

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