PSA in Omar: SC gives J&K 15 days to explain

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday requested the administration of Jammu and Kashmir to offer in 15 days its justification for the detention of the former CM Omar Abdullah of February 5 under the Public Security Law.

A bank of judges Arun Mishra and Indira Banerjee issued a notice to the government of the Union territory about a petition of habeas corpus filed by Pilot seeking freedom for his brother and directed the submission of the response before March 2, the Next hearing date after lead attorney Kapil Sibal clarified that no other petition questioning Abdullah's detention was pending in the J&K High Court.

Sibal had argued strongly against granting J&K a fortnight to submit a response, saying that a habeas corpus petition required an urgent hearing as it involved a person's freedom and right to life. If the administration is given 15 days, they will make us go round and round asking us to appear before the advisory board (which is required by the SC in a recent trial to periodically review all arrests), he said.

A week should be more than adequate for the administration to respond to habeas corpus, Sibal said, but the bank refused to give in. Sibal had to spend some time explaining to the bank the distinction between Abdullah's detention on August 5, when the Center removed the special status of J&K under Article 370, and the new detention on February 5 under PSA. It was the order of February 5 that was under challenge, he said.

Sibal asked when Abdullah had been detained for the past six months, what danger could it represent for public safety or law and order? Referring to Abdullah's credentials, from being a junior foreign affairs minister to J&K CM from 2009-2014, Sara in her petition has tried to overturn the arrest warrant by calling it arbitrary and bad faith.

She said that her brother's public statements and messages posted on social media before his arrest on August 5 would reveal that he was still asking for peace and cooperation, messages that in Gandhi's India cannot remotely affect public order. She added: It is rare that those who have served the nation as parliamentarians, prime minister of a state, minister in the government of the Union and have always maintained the national aspirations of India, are now perceived as a threat to the state.

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