Sara Abdullah Pilot, the sister of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has challenged his detention under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) in the Supreme Court on Monday calling it “unconstitutional and a fragrant violation of fundamental right”.
Representing Sara Abdullah Pilot, veteran Congress leader and senior advocate Kapil Sibal sought an urgent hearing in the matter and the apex court has agreed to hear the matter.
“Her brother’s detention is a grave violation of his constitutional rights including freedom of speech, and is part of a consistent and concerted effort to muzzle all political rivals,” Sara Abdullah Pilot was quoted by NDTV as saying.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who were under preventive detention for the past six month, were on February 5 booked under the PSA without charges, barely hours before their arrest was to come to an end.
Under PSA a person can be kept under detention without trial for up to two year. While senior Abdullah was slapped with the stringent PSA on September 17 last year which was reviewed by authorities on December 15, 2019 and it was agreed that he would continue to remain in detention for another 90 days.
49-year-old Omar was handed over a warrant issued under the PSA, a law which was enacted by his grandfather Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in 1978 initially to check timber smuggling.
The PSA, which came handy for police force to book separatists and militant sympathisers, has two sections — ‘public order’ and ‘threat to security of the state’. The former allows detention without trial for six months and the latter for two years.
For Omar Abdullah the dossier prepared by the police said, “the capacity of the subject to influence people for any cause can be gauged from the fact that he was able to convince his electorate to come out and vote in huge numbers even during the peak of militancy and poll boycotts.”
Several political leaders were picked up from their residences on August 5 last year, the day the Centre had withdrawn the special status given to J-K under Article 370 of the Constitution and divided the state into two Union Territories — Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
The two Union Territories came into existence on October 31 last year.
Meanwhile the three former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti — continue to remain under detention and are now facing PSA.