SRINAGAR: In anticipation of the March 5 hearing in Omar Abdulla’s detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, the UT administration in Jammu and Kashmir told the Supreme Court that the former J&K chief minister’s detention of the last more than seven months is justified. It reiterated that he continues to be a threat to public order.
The UT administration came in a counter-affidavit that the Jammu and Kashmir government filed before the bench hearing Omar’s petition.
The plea seeking to quash the detention order under the PSA was filed by Omar Abdullah’s sister Sara Abdullah Pilot on. She termed the detention ‘manifestly illegal’ and asserted there was no question of Omar being a threat to the ‘maintenance of public order.’
On the very first day, the case witnessed an interesting twist. Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar, who was part of the bench hearing the case on February 12, recused from the hearing.
Two days later, Justice Arun Mishra Mishra’s bench issued notice to the Central Government and the UT administration of Jammu and Kashmir. The case was listed for March 5, even though the Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Pilot, pleaded for an early date. Advocate General K K Venugopal in the very first hearing had argued that the petitioner had offered any reason for not approach the Jammu and Kashmir High court, usually the first recourse in habeas corpus cases.
In anticipation of the hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has filed a counter-affidavit before the bench. Termed Omar as the “crowd influencer” who could raise mass agitations against the Centre for repealing the special status of the erstwhile state, the affidavit signed by District Magistrate Srinagar insists that his potential to create law and order remains.
Live Law website that uploaded the counter-affidavit reported that the Counter asserted: “…there exists a live and proximate link in the events that occurred in the past, the activities of the Detenu and the possibility of such activities being prejudicial to maintenance of public order”. It added: “The Detenu has been a very vocal critic of any possible abrogation of Article 370 prior to its abrogation on 5th August 2019. It is submitted that considering the very peculiar geo-political position of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and its geographical proximity with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the concept of public order needs to be examined contextually”.
The order, according to the website further mentioned that “concerned agencies have underlined apprehensions of encouraging mass agitations by provocative statements as an influencer”.
The affidavit has questioned the petitioner’s move to approach the Supreme Court and not the High Court. It has also said that the petitioner has skipped representing before the Government or hearing-in-person before the Advisory Board under the PSA.
India Today reported that the J&K administration defended the prolonged detention of Omar Abdullah saying the action was a result of the leader’s “live and proximate link” to past events.”Geographical the proximity of J&K and Ladakh to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is also a factor,” said the Jammu and Kashmir administration while defending the detention.
The matter has now been listed on March 5, 2020. The Petitioner has been directed by the Court to file a Rejoinder, if any, by then, according to Live Law.