SC Issues Notice to J&K on Plea Challenging Mehbooba Mufti's Detention Under PSA

The dossier on the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister is "manifestly biased slanderous, libellous", the court was informed.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response of the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration on a plea challenging former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

A bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra also asked Iltija Mufti, daughter of the PDP chief, to give an undertaking stating that she has not filed any other petition before another judicial forum, including the high court, challenging the detention of her mother.

Iltija had filed a habeas corpus (bring the person) petition in the apex court challenging the government’s order issued on February 5 for invoking the PSA provision against Mehbooba Mufti to keep her in detention.

Habeas corpus is a writ seeking production of a person, who has allegedly been in illegal detention, before a court.

The bench has now posted the plea for hearing on March 18.

During the brief hearing, lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan appearing for Iltija, said the impugned dossier, which formed the basis for invocation of the PSA, was “manifestly biased slanderous, libellous” against the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.

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She also said that a person cannot be deprived of fundamental freedom and personal liberty on these grounds.

The bench asked the lawyer to give an affidavit as to whether Iltija or somebody else has filed any other petition in the high court against the detention order.

The lawyer replied in negative and undertook to file an affidavit in this regard in a day or two.

She also said that Mehbooba Mufti has been accused of creating fear among the majority of the population and playing “cheap politics”.

She said that not a single incident of incitement has been referred in the dossier by the administration and the PDP chief has been wrongly put under detention under the PSA.

Earlier, the same bench had issued notice to the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration on a similar plea filed against the government notification invoking the PSA against former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Mufti and Abdullah, besides two political leaders from the National Conference and its arch-rival PDP, were booked under the PSA by the administration on February 6, barely hours before their six-month-long “preventive detention” was to come to an end.

The grounds of detention against Abdullah claim that on the eve of a reorganisation of the state, he had allegedly made attempts to provoke general masses against the revocation of provisions of Articles 370 and Article 35A.