New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) A new Division Bench, comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Indira Banerjee, will hear on Friday Sara Abdullah Pilot’s petition challenging detention of her brother and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA).
On Wednesday, Justice M.M. Shantanagoudar recused himself from hearing the matter without citing any reason. “I am not participating in this matter,” he said.
The previous Bench comprised three judges — Justices N.V. Ramana, M.M. Shantanagoudar and Sanjiv Khanna.
Sara Pilot moved the Supreme Court on Monday challenging Omar Abdullah’s fresh detention under the PSA. Terming the February 5 order under the PSA “unconstitutional”, Omar’s sister said it violated Fundamental Rights.
When senior advocate Kapil Sibal sought an urgent hearing, the apex court agreed to consider the request.
When Omar Abdullah’s release was imminent, said Sara Pilot she “shockingly learnt about his new detention under the provisions of the PSA (under which their father also remains detained), which could have no application to one who has anyway been in custody over several months in a state that was under a lockdown.”
Sara Pilot urged the apex court to issue writ in the nature of habeas corpus asking authorities to produce “the person of the detenue forthwith before this court for being set at liberty.”
Contending that her brother had disagreement with the policies of the Centre, she said it was a lawful right of a citizen in a democracy (especially to a member of the opposition).
“There exists overwhelming evidence in the form of tweets and public statements made by the detenue prior to this detention that point towards the exemplary conduct of the detenue wherein the detenue as a votary of peace and public order and has repeatedly requested general people to maintain peace and tranquillity,” said Sara Pilot.