SRINAGAR: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, on Friday requested the government’s response in a plea by religious cleric and political leader, Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Umar Farooq, challenging his ‘illegal‘ house arrest.

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Farooq was among the political leaders detained in August 2019 before the Central government’s decision to revoke the special status earlier conferred on Jammu and Kashmir by amending the application of Article 370 of the Constitution.

He has remained under house arrest since then.

On September 15, Justice Rajneesh Oswal instructed the government to file its response by the next hearing date.

Senior Advocate NA Ronga, representing Farooq before the High Court, stated that the government has not permitted him to leave his Srinagar residence for the past four years. Ronga argued that Farooq has been confined illegally since August 4, 2019, without any detention orders from a competent authority, violating Farooq’s fundamental right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

A legal notice was previously issued to government representatives, urging Farooq’s release from illegal confinement, but to no avail, Ronga added.

It was further submitted that Farooq, as the religious head (Mirwaiz-E-Kashmir), has been working tirelessly to promote good values and eradicate social ills in society. The Court was told that he has also received global recognition for his contributions.

By confining him, he has been prevented from carrying out his noble mission. Thousands of people are also deprived of hearing his inspiring sermons on important religious occasions, including during the holy month of Ramadhan, Ronga argued.

On Friday, advocate Maha Majeed accepted notice on behalf of the Jammu and Kashmir government.

The matter will be heard again on October 4, 2023.

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